Cotton harvest starts in Raqqa
Women working in cotton fields in Raqqa, famous for its agricultural lands, are determined to increase productivity despite the economic crisis and occupation attacks.
Raqqa- Cotton, known as ‘white gold’ is one of the most important agricultural products in the world. The cotton production in Syria has decreased since the start of the Syrian war. In North and East Syria, the most planted agricultural product is wheat and then cotton.
Women working in cotton fields in Raqqa are determined to increase productivity of cotton despite the economic crisis and occupation attacks.
‘Women are closely associated with agriculture and nature’
Sawda Al-Wadi (50) is a displaced woman of Deir ez-Zor living in Raqqa. “I pick cotton by hand to earn a living,” she said. “Women are closely associated with agriculture and nature. They play an important role in agriculture, growing and harvesting crops.”
Women working in cotton fields first pick good quality of cotton by hand. “25 days later, we pick poor quality of cotton. There is a decline in cotton production compared to last year. Picking cotton by hand is our only source of living,” said Sawda Al-Wadi.
Afaf Faysal, a 40-year-old mother of four told us how they pick cotton by hand.
“Every day, we wake up before sunrise. We work in cotton fields from 5 am to 6 pm. We bring our food with us for lunch. After working in the fields, we get back home and work at home. Despite all the difficulties and efforts, women are excluded by society.”
‘What we do is difficult but we believe in ourselves’
Afaf Faysal pointed out that picking cotton is very difficult. “We pull the cotton out of the boll using our fingers and then put them in a sack of five kilos. We suffer from back pain every day. What we do is very difficult but we believe in ourselves and want to be economically independent.”
‘Raqqa is famous with its agricultural lands’
Melek Abdullah, a 40-year-old mother of nine, came to Raqqa from Deir ez-Zor due to financial difficulties. “We came Raqqa because it is famous with its agricultural lands. We work as agricultural workers to earn a living for our family. Now, we pick cotton by hand to earn a living. All women should believe in themselves and support each other to overcome financial difficulties,” said Melek Abdullah.