by Hummam Sheikh Ali
SWEIDA, Syria, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- In a small town in Syria's southern province of Sweida, a handful of workers were operating several machines to make apple chips, a new snack in Syria.
The project of making apple chips came to light by two women and an engineer, who had previously made several small projects before thinking of doing the apple chips while attending a workshop on benefiting from agriculture.
The project was viable when the three friends thought of taking advantage of the ample harvest of apple in Sweida and in their town of Sahwet Blata in particular.
They managed to secure the funding to import a few machines for cleaning, peeling, and cutting the apples in thin slices before processing them to become crisp.
The workers at the small factory were all wearing white scrubs, gloves, and head cover to maintain a clean environment.
In one of the rooms, they placed sacks of apple chips in different flavors as well as some other products of dried fruits, which are also planted in the town.
As the project is still young, its production is modest in quantity, but the apple chips are popular among local people.
Sahara Matar, the head of the project, told Xinhua that during the tough times of war and hardship, people should think and come up with projects to make their lives better instead of wallowing in despair.
"Amid the tough economic circumstances of the war, we surely shouldn't stay arms folded. We should work and I encourage people to work in agriculture and anything that give production to achieve self-sufficiency that will be good for everyone," Matar said.
The 40-year-old woman said that apple is available in large quantities in Sweida in general and in her town in particular, which makes the raw material available at relatively cheap prices.
Zaid Abd, an agricultural engineer and the one who initially thought of the idea, told Xinhua that making apple chips is new in Syria.
Usually, he said, the farmers dispose of the small apples or those which are unattractive. So instead of going to waste, the factory buys these apples and makes them into chips.
He said the new product offers healthy snacks for people and benefits the farmers who can now sell all their harvest. Enditem