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Protecting local product & strengthening national economy
Protecting local product & strengthening national economy
Protecting local product & strengthening national economy
[Mon, 24 Jun 2024 08:47:29 +0300]

SANA'A June 24. 2024 (Saba) - In light of the high quality and unique taste of Yemeni raisins, smuggled foreign raisins of various kinds are invading the local market, competing with authentic Yemeni raisins, which occupy the forefront among types of raisins in the world.

As part of the measures taken to protect local products and strengthen the national economy, the Supreme Agricultural and Fisheries Committee, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and the Public Prosecution are concerned with Yemeni products and encouraging competition to support the national product to be competitive and an alternative to the foreign product.

The Higher Agricultural Committee, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, launched an intensive field campaign to inspect stores selling smuggled foreign raisins in a number of areas in Sana’a.

The campaign, which comes in coordination with the security services and the Public Prosecution, aims to protect the local product of raisins, which is considered one of the finest types in the world.
It came at a time when the country is witnessing major economic and agricultural challenges, as the country seeks to achieve self-sufficiency and support local farmers in the face of unfair competition in conjunction with the great efforts made by farmers to maintain the quality of their products despite the difficult circumstances that the country going through.

The Yemeni News Agency (Saba) surveyed the opinions of a number of raisin merchants and sellers, agency owners and grape growers, in addition to officials in a number of competent authorities, about the campaign, its expected impact in supporting products and encouraging local production, and the importance of protecting the market from smuggled products.

International quality:

Yemeni raisins, known for their high quality and unique flavour, are considered one of the most important crops that farmers rely on.

As the problem of foreign raisin smuggling worsens, protecting this product has become an urgent necessity to ensure the sustainability of local agriculture and maintain its reputation in local and international markets.

Prudent actions:

Adnan Al-Raboui, owner of Al-Raboui Raisin Agency, confirmed his support for the campaign to arrest foreign raisin smugglers and importers implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and the concerned authorities.

He said: “We call on the competent authorities not to be lenient in this aspect, in a way that ensures the protection of the Yemeni farmer and support of the local product, as the farmer, before these wise measures, had reached a stage of frustration that prompted him to expand the cultivation of khat at the expense of the grape farms, in search of economic return.”

He stated that the demand for buying Yemeni raisins improved relatively over the past two years, pointing out that the presence of foreign raisins before the decision to ban imports caused farmers great losses in light of people’s desire to buy the foreign product, though Yemeni raisins of higher quality.

Regarding adopting modern methods for drying grapes and marketing, Al-Raboui pointed out that this requires many capabilities, but it has become necessary and the farmer must work on it with the care and supervision of the concerned authorities.

In addition, Yahya Hamid Al-Qata’a, the owner of the Al-Qata’a agency that has been selling raisins for more than ninety years, pointed out that Yemeni raisins are not comparable to other foreign raisins, and this is also the case with many products and crops.

He affirmed his full support for the field campaign to arrest smugglers and importers of foreign raisins, and the complete rejection of it's arrival, which causes an accumulation of local raisins.

He Pointed that banning the import of foreign raisins contributed to making the local product more desirable, increased citizens’ awareness of the quality of Yemeni raisins, and interest in encouraging farmers became an official and societal trend.

Abdullah Al-Khawlani, owner of the Bani Hashish Agency for selling local raisins and almonds, noted that the country’s bounties deserve attention, because of their quality, diversity, and special taste.

He expressed the prices of Yemeni raisins, which vary from one type to another, give the consumer the opportunity to choose and buy the type he desires. It makes it accessible to everyone according to purchasing power, stressing at the same time that all types of Yemeni raisins are characterized by a quality that exceeds the foreign product.

Natural production:

In turn, Zaid Ahmed Wathab from the Trust Agency, advised citizens to buy local raisins, given their superiority, which is confirmed by the approved international standards and specifications due to them being free of preservatives and the quality of all their types.

He touched on what scientific studies have proven regarding the distinction of Yemeni raisins from competitors, which include high percentages of phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, and other minerals, stressing that farmers are keen to continue production naturally, away from the use of preservatives or chemicals in the production process. He also called for encouraging farms and supporting local products in a way that contributes to achieving self-sufficiency and supporting the national economy.

He reviewed the difference between foreign and local raisins in terms of quality and competition, stressing that Yemeni raisins are the global favorite. He also warned of some citizens rushing to buy foreign raisins, especially after the import ban, which may have entered the country illegally, accompanied by procedures that do not guarantee consumer safety, as it is exposed to multiple climates and unhealthy conditions.

Regarding farmer awareness, he pointed out the shortcomings in this aspect, especially since some farmers work to harvest before the grapes are fully ripe, and therefore when dried, it may not be of the same quality as what is harvested at the appropriate time.

For his part, Yahya Muhammad Dawais, a grape farmer in Bani Hashish, pointed out that the quality of Yemeni raisins is internationally famous, and this matter is not new, but rather from ancient times.

He pointed out that the nutritional value of Yemeni raisins reflects the quality of the diverse grape crop with its refined and distinctive taste.

He urged the community to contribute to the success of the campaign to arrest foreign raisin smugglers and importers, in support and encouragement of national farms and products.

He also stressed that the country has abundant resources that cover the local need and compete with the international market, and even surpass it in quality, as farmers are keen for their product to be free of preservatives and chemicals, which adds another value to this product.

Lack of instructions:

For his part, farmer Najib Al-Saqqa, owner of the Sawan grape farm, said “The decision to ban the import of raisins and other products represents a great support for the farms that we have long awaited, and the ongoing campaign comes within this framework that restores the high morale of the farms by expanding the cultivation of national crops and paying attention to its quality.”

He added: "We hope that these important measures will be followed by intensified efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture in following up on farmers in the various stages of production, and resolving any dilemma they face, especially if the products exposed to any diseases that strike and affect the product."

He pointed out that farmers using some pesticides or treatments as part of their own efforts without adhering to precise scientific controls, even if this is within the framework of an experiment that may sometimes succeed, is wrong and requires the concerned authorities to intensify their efforts to build disciplined awareness among farmers about adhering to scientific standards in production under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Farmer Yahya Abbad, a farmer from the Nehm region, pointed out that the campaign deserves support and support from all the people of the country because it serves the country’s economy, considering that it is a good initiative that serves farmers and pushes them to expand grape.

He praised the importance of oversight in preventing foreign raisins from entering through smuggling, and not being lenient in this aspect.

He called for attention to export abroad due to the exceptional quality of Yemeni raisins, as well as the need to pay attention to educating farmers to raise their levels of performance in improving production.

He also urged citizens to buy local raisins, especially during the days of Eid al-Adha, and society has become accustomed to nuts, including raisins, being among families’ priorities during the holidays.

Successful models:

Many farmers complain about drying grapes in the traditional way, and not using modern methods in packaging and marketing.
In contrast to this low reality, things seemed different when we visited Widyan Al-Saeeda Agency for Raisin Trade and Marketing, which invested heavily in the latest technologies and modern methods for drying and packaging grapes.

Its owner, Zuhair Qaid Zuhair, used modern methods to ensure the preservation of the quality and authentic taste of raisins, and invested in modern packaging systems that preserve the freshness of the product and extend its shelf life.

Marketing Director Majd Al-Din Al-Yousifi says: “We are keen to use the latest methods and technologies in drying grapes to preserve the quality of the raisins, we store them in air-conditioned hangers and use modern packaging machines to display the product in a distinctive way to the consumer.”

He praised the official campaign aimed at confiscating foreign raisins, calling for expanding the scope of the campaign to include malls and spice shops to ensure its success.

He added: "Yemeni raisins one of the most famous types of raisins in the world their quality is distinguished by several factors, including the climate, as Yemeni raisins receive the appropriate amount of sunlight and the correct temperature, which leads to the grape fruit growing and drying in an even and complete manner."

Al-Yousifi continued: “Yemeni raisins are distinguished by their natural sweet taste, which has a unique, concentrated and distinct flavor, in addition to being rich in nutritional elements such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which makes its a beneficial food for the body.
Raisins are also considered a quick and nutritious food, as they can be eaten as a snack or included in many meals.” Raisins also promote heart health and maintain stable blood sugar levels, and contain antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and contribute to the prevention of many diseases.”

He stressed that these specifications make Yemeni raisins a product of high quality and wonderful taste, deserving of attention and appreciation.

From Al-Awali Agency for Raisins and Almonds in Amran, Anwar Al-Awali said: “We have been working in the field of raisins for seventy years, and it is a profession that we love very much, and whenever we find interest in it, we feel very happy about the spread of awareness in society. Our happiness also increased when interest began officially as well, and with correct and wise decisions,” it serves the national economy.”

He pointed out that holiday occasions are an important opportunity to promote local products such as raisins, almonds, and others.

Danger of smuggling raisins:

Director of Agricultural Production at the Ministry of Agriculture, Engineer Wajih Al-Mutawakel pointed out the importance of continuing to implement campaigns to combat the smuggling of agricultural products whose import is prohibited to protect the local product and encouraging them, especially during this period in which local agricultural products began to become active and flourish.

He pointed out that grape growers need to be supported with modern irrigation systems techniques and support for areas cultivated with very excellent varieties in Saada, Amran, Sanaa and Bani Hashish, which produce 80 percent of the total production.

He noted that there are some problems, such as the scarcity of water and its high cost, and the need for irrigation systems and the introduction of high-tech methods and technologies in the field of marketing grapes because the farmer incurs huge losses in this field.

Engineer Al-Mutawakkil stressed the importance of intensifying awareness and guidance campaigns on agricultural practices for grape trees, and supporting campaigns to combat plant pests and epidemic diseases facing grape cultivation, especially in the rainy seasons.

He urged the introduction of different breeding systems for grape trees, focusing on supporting farmers through agricultural cooperatives because the breeding systems are different and expensive.

Drying grapes:

Drying grapes requires techniques and machines using solar energy, which is a major problem facing farmers because they suffer from the traditional method, which often requires a period of more than a month or two, with the product exposed to dust, air, and other variables, unlike external grapes, which are dried using machines and equipment in conditions Fast, clean, sterile and hygienic, according to Al-Mutawakkil.

He points out that there is local solar drying equipment that invented that can be used to dry grapes in just weeks using a technical method, it is possible to obtain high-quality dried raisins that are free of dust, moisture and other factors affecting the processing of grape fruits and turning them into raisins, and thus will increase the value economic of the product.

He said: "There are seasons when the demand for local raisins increases, such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which increases the strength of demand in the market for the supply. Consequently, the price of the supply of local raisins increases, and here the smuggling process increases to provide quantities of foreign raisins to benefit from it's low prices."

Local equipment manufacturing:

The Director of Agricultural Production at the Ministry of Agriculture recommended coordination with the Higher Authority for Science and Innovation to hold workshops for local manufacturing, production and distribution through partnership and coordination with agricultural associations.

He stressed that these steps will bring about a very major transformation in the agricultural sector, as much of the authority’s equipment and innovations are in the agricultural aspect.

He considered that grapes are one of the best agricultural crops that Yemen can compete with internationally, as they are unique in high quality compared to grapes from other countries, despite the care and attention that grape cultivation receives in those countries.

Improving the quality of raisins:

For her part, the teaching assistant at the Faculty of Agriculture at Sana’a University, Engineer Tayseer Al-Sanhani said that the supply of local raisins during the Eid season does not cover the need, and if the need covered, the prices of local raisins vary according to their types.

She said: “The purchasing power of the citizen is weak, and because he is unable to purchase his needs of local raisins, he resorts to foreign raisins, whose price often lower than the local one, even though the quality of imported agricultural products is low and weak compared to local agricultural products.”

She urged improving the quality of local raisins by paying attention to agricultural extension to educate farmers about proper treatments, supporting them to expand grape cultivation, combating plant pests, and providing modern drying equipment.

She indicated that the majority of farmers in most grape-growing regions use traditional methods in the drying process, as they expose the crop to sunlight for periods that may reach two months or more in order to reach raisins, but they are not free of dust, sticks, and impurities.

She pointed out that the raisin production community in its growing areas in Amran, Saada, Al-Jawf, and Sana'a needs an awareness campaign and guidance models on how to make a raisin dryer in the form of a hangar of more than one floor, with ventilation on the sides to ensure its cleanliness, drying, and good storage.

Al-Sanhani added: “There are transactions that farmers must be aware of, with the aim of raising the value of the local product so that it competes with the foreign product, as foreign raisins dried using chemicals for two to three days, while drying in our country takes place from one to two months in the traditional way.”
It recommended the need to create agricultural cooperative entities and associations to support grape cultivation.

Shrinking spaces:

She explained that grapes, as a table crop, during its production season, farmers are exposed to large economic losses, and therefore the cropped area shrinks from year to year as a result of farmers moving towards more profitable crops.

She called for the necessity of conducting accurate statistics on grape cultivation areas and identifying the areas that grow raisin grapes because not all grapes dry raisins, and providing accurate data and information about the area of raisin grape cultivation and its productivity.

She urged the intensification of agricultural extension activities to educate grape growers and introduce them to modern technologies, in addition to benefiting from the successful and distinguished experiences of some farmers in Saada and Khawlan, who are considered models in grape drying, as they built hangars and obtain a very high return, as they obtain raisins dried in a modern way.

Regarding the campaign to confiscate smuggled raisins, engineer Tayseer Al-Sanhani said that the decision to ban the import of foreign raisins was supposed to be taken according to a field study.

She added: "In my opinion, the local production of raisins still does not cover the need, especially during the Eid season, in addition to the weak purchasing power of citizens, which does not enable them to buy local raisins, whose price is high compared to imported raisins."

Encouraging expansion:

The Director of Agricultural Production at the Ministry of Agriculture disagrees with this opinion, who confirmed that while banning the import of foreign raisins is considered a positive step within the framework of the trend towards improving the yield and productivity of local grapes and raisins, grape cultivation and its productivity still require strong efforts and interventions in the field of various agricultural services and guidance and awareness aspects for farmers to raise Productivity and encouraging the process of expanding the productivity of unit area.

competitive prices :

Regarding what is rumored about the high prices of local raisins compared to imported ones, Ibrahim Al-Osaimi, Financial Director of Widyan Al-Saeeda Agency for Raisin Trade and Marketing, says, “We should not talk about the high prices of local raisins compared to foreign raisins, as there are different types of raisins in the market, and prices vary according to the quality”. Also, We offer high-quality types at reasonable prices, which are lower in price than imported raisins.”

He continued: "We have raisins, the price of which is 1,500 riyals per kilogram ,according to the specifications and standards its quality is not comparable to any type of imported raisins, and this reflects the quality of Yemeni raisins and their refined taste."

Al-Osaimi added, "The focus must be on educating the consumer about the importance of supporting local products, and the campaign implemented by Agricultural Committee and the Ministry of Agriculture heralds better future to encourage farmers and educate citizens about the importance of the local product."

He concluded his speech by saying: “We have noticed an increase in people’s demand to buy local raisins since last year. We hope that this improvement will continue in light of community cooperation and official support for local products until we achieve self-sufficiency.”

A recent study by the head of the Pesticide Testing Department at the General Administration of Plant Protection at the Ministry of Agriculture, Engineer Ali Mahrez, confirmed that Yemeni raisins of all kinds are among the finest types of raisins in the world, as it is distinguished by its high nutritional value and many benefits as a result of the quality of the grape crop, the fertility of the agricultural land, and the great efforts of farmers.

The study indicated that there are many types of Yemeni raisins, including: white, raziqi, black, and others, all of which are of high quality.
It indicated that Yemeni raisins occupy a high position in the local and Gulf markets, and like other Yemeni products, it is at relatively high prices, the price of raisins often rises on occasions, whether during holidays or wedding seasons, and decreases relatively after the grape harvest season for a certain period, which is the period in which farmers produce until it is ready for consumption.

Quality, taste and excellence:

Grape fruits are distinguished by their wonderful quality and taste making them widely accepted by consumers who are keen to purchase them to enjoy their taste and benefit from their content of elements of nutritional and therapeutic value that help lower blood pressure, in addition to it's richness in vitamins.

Raisins can be obtained by drying grapes using the sun or modern solar dryers. “Local” raisins are characterized by a unique taste and special flavour, which can be distinguished from other types of foreign raisins found in local markets.

Grapes and its products is classified as cash, economic, and income-generating agricultural crops, its production costs is low and its water needs is moderate compared to other crops.

Grape growing areas:

The cultivation of grape trees is concentrated in areas with cold and moderate weather, and Bani Hashish, Khawlan, Sanhan, Bani Al-Harith, Arhab, Hamdan and Wadi Dhahr in Sana’a governorate are the most important areas that are famous for growing more than 20 types of grapes.
Its trees are also planted in some areas of Saada governorate, and various areas in Al-Jawf and Al-Bayda governorates.

There are many types and varieties of grapes in Yemen, including Al-Razzaqi, Al-Jabri, Al-Asmi, Al-Hatemi, jufi, Al-Husseini, Adhari black, and others.

M.M


resource : SABA

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UPDATED ON :Tue, 16 Jul 2024 18:38:55 +0300