In conversation with Basel Tarabichi
Mr. Basel Tarabichi, importer and distributor in Syria and representative of HZPC Company
"Despite the difficult situation in Syria, life continues and the people are optimistic and looking forward for a promising future. Our Potato market is still prosperous thanks to the support of the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture to the importers, since the Ministry is providing technical expertise by sending specialized technical committees to examine the seeds in the Netherlands and HZPC Company is providing the best kinds of potato seeds. People have to eat and the consumers prefer reasonable prices."
"With the beginning of the new century, Syria proved to be a good place to grow potatoes. The Syrian potato quality is famous for its purity of colour and shape, thanks to the active farmers, the fertile soil and having four seasons in the year. Besides, the Syrian farmer complies with the agricultural cycle of the potato harvest.
We export Fabula to Jordan, Spunta to Gulf countries, Sifra and Sylvana to Iraq. The biggest potato areas in my country can be found in the provinces of Tartous, Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Edleb and Damascus. In the cities, people love eating French fries, while in the countryside, cooked potatoes are a daily meal and the potato soup is quite popular.
The biggest varieties in Syria are Fabula and Spunta. The north and south of the country used to be Fabula growing areas whereas Spunta was grown in the Syrian coast areas and the provinces of Homs and Damascus. Fabula is my favorite: it is strong, has high resistance to diseases and has a high production. HZPC offers good varieties such as Sylvana, Sifra, Evora and Farida and very recently the Hermosa which a promising future of production is awaiting in early autumn. In addition, we are also still working with Spunta which is good, and Farida will be its alternative in the future. Furthermore I work in Lebanon to develop the agriculture of the new varieties for HZPC and we succeeded this year to introduce the Farida variety after we organized an amazing field day last summer for the Frida variety."
Helping each other
"I started to work with HZPC in 2006 and my experience goes back to 1995 through Hettema. At that time, potato business in Syria was different. We worked on the expansion of the business. HZPC brands were not popular in the Syrian market yet but now we have become the leaders in this market. I used to be a grower myself and I know lot of people concerned in this work and I have a good relation with both the smaller growers and the biggest traders. I always ask them: "What do you want, how can we help?"
"I'm so happy to work with everyone in HZPC. All of them are listening to what I need to help the market. I work with HZPC colleagues in the port, and for sales, product management and documents I work closely together with colleagues in the office."
"I hope to see peace in my country and that everyone stay in good health. My challenge is to see the HZPC market share grow and improve in Syria. And I'm sure that Syria will return the leader of the excellent agriculture production in the Middle East."