Poor living conditions force many displaced people in Idlib to find new sources of income, including growing vegetables in greenhouses near their tents and homes • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Poor living conditions force many displaced people in Idlib to find new sources of income, including growing vegetables in greenhouses near their tents and homes

Inhabitants in displacement camps in northern Syria try to find solutions to help them cope with the burden of displacement, in light of the high prices, especially foodstuffs, as some families have grown certain types of vegetables in greenhouses near their tents.

Indoor farming has become a way of living for the inhabitants of the camps in northern Syria, following the large civilian exodus due to the regime military operation, backed by Russian air support, and its control over large areas of the countryside of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib.

For some displaced families, indoor farming is also a major source of income, due to widespread unemployment and lack of job opportunities. Many farmers who used to cultivate in their areas were able to bring their experience to their places of displacement in northern Syria in order to secure their daily needs.

These farmers work in greenhouses near their tents and homes, while these greenhouses provide job opportunities for many young people and girls as they are in constant need of care, especially during the winter.

A displaced young man known by his initial as “KH.A.” from Khan Sheikhoun city in the southern Idlib countryside, is one of many people who started working in this sector to secure his family’s needs.

“KH.A.” was displaced with his family of eight to the camps of northern Syria after fleeing from heavy shelling on his area before the regime took control of it. After a long effort to find shelter, he settled in a camp near the town of Kelli, north of Idlib, and before his displacement, agriculture was considered as a major source of income for him, as he owned dozens of hectares of agricultural land and fruit trees, which encouraged him to bring his accumulated experience to his place of displacement in the camp.

He started indoor farming, which is currently providing him with a large part of his daily needs, as he sees this profession as a successful project, because there are no better jobs opportunities and in light of deteriorating living conditions as well.

“Kh.A.” currently owns a greenhouse of 30 square metre, in which he grows some types of vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers, which are difficult to grow in winter because of their need for constant care, water and moderate heat.

“Kh.A.” added that agriculture is no longer profit-making business, as it is affected by many natural factors such as lack of rainwater, windstorms and high prices of agricultural materials such as hydrocarbons, fertilizers, insecticides and others, unlike other professions such as trade or industry.

The workers in agricultural in the north of Syria are paid $1 on average per day, equivalent to 8 Turkish liras, in light of the high prices and growing demand for vegetables in the markets.

It is worth noting that the agricultural sector before the start of the war in Syria was one of the most important sectors as large quantities of surplus vegetable were being exported to several countries. The agricultural sector is suffering now as a result of shortage and high prices of fertilizers and pesticides, the costs of agriculture, therefore, have increased and production costs have become difficult to cover, which is why many farmers have stopped farming. In addition to lack of electricity, where crops may be exposed to drought, as well as large waves of displacements in various areas of Syria due to the military operations over a decade, where farmers left their land to safer areas.

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