Published: 2021-06-29 13:27
Last Updated: 2023-09-29 08:28
Bilal Zbibi's family is again churning out the popular flat-pressed sundried sweet known as Qamar al-Din. After a grinding halt due to the war, Bilal Zbibi apricot business is making a slow comeback in the Eastern Ghouta as farmers return to their fields more than two years after pro-government forces retook the area from rebel fighters.
Zbibi told AFP "The Zbibi family is one of the biggest producers of Qamar al-Din and exporters to Egypt and other Arab countries. We used to produce one-third of Syria's Qamar al-Din supply."
He added that "We had about 1,200-1,300 apricot trees, all of them of the best variety. We returned after the war and we didn't find one apricot tree, the land was destroyed, everything was ruined. But we came back, we're fixing things up, and we're replanting to the best of our abilities. God willing we'll live to eat from what we planted, but if we don't, hopefully our children will."
He explained "Syria used to produce 15-20,000 tons of Qamar al-Din. But now it's only 3,000 to 4,000 tons... that's Syria's national production. So, it's dropped to one-fifth of what it used to be."