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Afrin olive farmers struggle against high taxes, low prices

By Rudaw 17/10/2018
The olive harvest and grinding season has begun in Afrin, the northwest Syrian canton taken over by Turkey and its Syrian militia proxies earlier this year in the aptly named Operation Olive Branch. 

It has been a difficult year for farmers due to low market prices, high taxation, and instability.

One olive grinder in Khalil village, Rajo district says the harvest and grinding process is very costly, eating into their profits. 

The market price for olives is very low. Farmers are also lumbered with a 10 percent tax by the local authority and a five percent payment to the grinders. 

Some local militants are also allegedly demanding up to 25 percent of farmers’ income.


William Jennings | 17/10/2018
If I have understood this article correctly, then the total percentage fees, including taxes, amount to 40%. That number is comparable to the percentage of income paid as tax by the richest people in developed countries such as the United States. The cost should be reduced in two ways: -Coalition forces must stand against the militants who abominably usurp governmental authority from the local council. There is no viable compromise which includes a doubling of administrative costs. -The grinding and processing costs can be ameliorated with a farm subsidy program, to include emergency loans for olive farmers whose crop would go to waste without an influx of capital. The salvaged olive crop can be used to make vegan butter substitutes when mixed with coconut oil. It would make fiscal sense to finance the farm subsidy by selling futures on the sale of commodity Syrian olives in the South Pacific, where most vegetable oil is processed. The situation can be summed up with the saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. When there is a bad market for olives, you mix the olives into better products. When there is bad governance from civil conflict, you make sure that everyone’s voice is heard, so that the consensus becomes a good mix.

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