Damascus Countryside, SANA – “The Damask Rose Harvest Day” Festival kicked off with wide official and popular participation in al-Marah village in al-Nabek area in Damascus Countryside.
The Damask rose, or Rosa damascena, named after Damascus, has earned fame for its gorgeous color and its fine fragrance, not to mention its economic, nutritional, aesthetic, and medical importance.
In statements to SANA, some of al-Marah village locals said that all the residents participate in the harvesting season which lasts for 20 days where buds are sorted and then sold to merchants to produce rose water.
The festival activities included honoring all farmers who cultivate the Damask Rose and artistic performances.
Damascus Countryside Governor, Hussein Makhlouf said that the close cooperation between the Syria Trust for Development and al-Marah Damask Rose Association, backed by other state institutions and ministries, helped increase the production and achieve higher gains, adding that the number of beneficiaries has reached 59 producers who were granted about SYP 6 million to support Damask Rose projects.
Board Member of Syria Trust for Development, Talal Moualla stressed the importance of establishing al-Marah Damask Rose Association, launching the initiative of “The Damask Rose Harvest Day”, and cooperating among all concerned parties to overcome obstacles hindering the production and marketing of this crop.
Moualla called for increasing the capital allocated to develop the region, supporting future projects and providing necessary infrastructure, equipment and technologies to link the project with specialized research centers in order to improve agricultural products and enhance the opportunities to export and market them.
He added that the Syria Trust for Development, being an advisory body to the UNESCO, is seeking to list the Damask Rose on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Madian Bitar, head of al-Marah Damask Rose Association expressed gratitude to Damascus Countryside Governorate, the Syrian Trust for Development and other parties for their support to increase the cultivation and production of Damask Rose and marketing this product.
On the sidelines of the festival, Tourism Minister Bishr al-Yaziji underlined the ministry’s efforts to improve rural tourism since Syria has such charming beautiful nature, adding that al-Marah village combines between environmental tourism and rural development, taking into account that the Damask rose has become a symbol of Syrian folklore and heritage and Syria’s ambassador to the world.
For his part, Minister of Water Resources, Kamal al-Sheikha stressed the ministry’s readiness to provide all kinds of support and dig more wells to suffice the village’s water needs, while State Minister for Environment Affairs Nazira Sarkis highlighted efforts exerted to encourage local communities to preserve the cultivation of this plant and improve it.
R. Raslan / Ghossoun