GAZİANTEP / ISTANBUL
Syria’s crisis has been an unexpected ‘godsend’ to farmers in Turkey’s southeast, as refugees have picked up the slack amid an agricultural labor shortage
Some 2,000 Syrian refugees who have taken shelter in Turkey’s southeast after violence back at home begin working as seasonal workers on the pepper fields.
Syrians who have been forced to flee the violence in their country and have now settled in a tent city in Gaziantep’s Islahiye district, have begun taking on agricultural labor to earn money.
Some 2,000 Syrian refugees out of 8,256 are involved in agricultural tasks such as picking peppers,
cutting grapes and other jobs outside the camp.
With permission papers from the camp officials in hand, Syrians leave their areas of refuge every day at 9 a.m. via truck, minibus or tractor for a day of work in the fields, returning home at 5 p.m.
Refugees earn 185 kuruş per kilogram of leftover pepper material, 20-23 kuruş per kilogram of red peppers and 20 kuruş for grapes.
Red pepper producer Bayram Şimşek said the harvest of red peppers was slow due to seasonal reasons and added that it was difficult to find agriculture laborers.
“Our Syrian visitors have come to our aid. Their demand to work on their break time has been a godsend for farmers. What we pay to them is set by the Price Determination Committee. Syrians are earning nine to 13 liras a day on average. They are clean but they are a little bit slow,” Şimşek said.