Tartus farmers replace tomato crops with more profitable bananas

Tartus farmers replace tomato crops with more profitable bananas
Greenhouses in Banias city (Enab Baladi)

Tomato cultivation is declining on the Syrian coast due to the high costs compared to other crops, such as bananas.

The coastal province of Tartus, specifically the city of Banias, is known as one of the most important tomato production areas. Its moderate weather supports the spread of greenhouses, as there are no risks of frost like in other regions. Moreover, the tomatoes there are famous for being a desirable type for export.

Recently, the majority of tomato farmers have been shifting to cultivating bananas, as it is much more economically viable compared to tomatoes, posing a threat to the future of tomato farming.

According to farmers’ expectations, tomato production in Banias will sharply decline within five years in favor of bananas.

An agricultural engineer, who preferred not to disclose his name, told Enab Baladithat in the town of al-Kharab, which was the first in Tartus province to grow tomatoes in greenhouses, tomato cultivation has declined by more than 65%.

He explained that farmers have replaced tomatoes with bananas, as they are much more productive without significant costs. Bananas do not require 10% of the production costs needed for tomatoes; in addition to the fact that the tree yields fruit in less than two years after planting.

High costs and losses for farmers

The agricultural engineer explained the production costs of tomatoes, stating that marketing, packaging prices, and transportation consume 30% of the total season’s proceeds. Additionally, 20% goes to the farmer if the landowner does not work manually, and the remaining 50% may not cover the production costs if the yield is not plentiful and the price is not satisfactory.

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