News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
In an article by posted on ANF today, the author Huda Eli writes about the ongoing cotton harvest in Rojava, its importance to the region, and how difficult the war has made continued production. Below is the article translated to English:
In Rojava, which in terms of the agrarian economy and culture is home to some of the most productive lands in Kurdistan, the wheat harvest has ended and the cotton harvest is beginning. The people of Western Kurdistan, who are resisting against an embargo, are working especially hard to overcome a lack of foodstuffs.
The people have begun to harvest cotton in many regions of Rojava. Despite the war people are working to collect the produce that they put so much labor into growing.
After wheat cotton is the second largest crop grown in Western Kurdistan and is picked by hand. Grown in wet regions with hot climates, the production and harvesting of cotton requires a lot of labor. Cotton is ready to pick in the month of September and is harvested twice over a twenty day interval.
Rojava has the distinction of being a region with high quality cotton. The productivity here is between 350 and 500 kilos a decare. It is thought that the Kurdish and Turkish words for cotton derive from the Greek name for the city of Manbij – “Bambyce” – which is located on the banks of the Euphrates River in Western Rojava.
However cotton production decreased during the Baath regime due to political and economic discrimination. It stopped completely when fighting broke out in March, 2011. The Arab belt policy and similar discriminatory pressures directed toward Western Kurdistan even before the fighting, a lack of factories, and the artificial deflation of the cotton price has led to a further decrease in production. For example cotton production in the Kurdish regions relied on factors in Aleppo and Al-Hasakah. However the factories in these cities were burned down and destroyed during fighting over the course of 2012.
Despite all this locals are working to continue cotton production in the Kurdish regions. Even as produces have began to harvest the cotton in Rojava, they are having difficulty marketing it. Villages are now thinking about where they can sell the cotton they have produced. The Western Kurdistan Economic Committee is working to find solutions to this problem.