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Wine.

still of value to the island. Various causes, mentioned below, have
caused a diminution in the quantity annually exported. The best
silk is produced at Baffo, and the surrounding district; this supe-
riority is chiefly the result of the mulberry trees being older than in
other localities, and also because they are not grafted. The Baffo
silk is generally of a beautiful golden yellow colour. Silk is also
roduced at Waroschia, close to Famagusta; at Kythraea in the
rpas district, and many other of the northern villages, and also
at Maratassa in the Troodos region, where the cocoons are remark-
able for their beauty, and the brilliancy of their colour.
The Varoschia and the Karpas silks are very fine, and are
generally white; in other places the cocoons are orange, sulphur-
yellow, or golden yellow. In 1863 the average quantity of silk
produced annually in Cyprus was about 56,000 lbs., one-half of
which was raised in the district of Baffo; about one-tenth of the
whole was at that period consumed in native manufactures, and
the greater part of the remainder was exported to France. The
Cyprus silk only needs a better system of winding to be adopted,
to make it fetch a far higher price than at present, and to cause it
to be more sought after in the markets of Lyons and Liverpool.
Consul Watkins, writing at the beginning of 1878, reports that—

“The production of silk has sensibly diminished during the last few years, owing to disease amongst the silkworms, and to a partial fall in prices in the French market.

“The quantity produced formerly exceeded 25,000 okes of reeled silk.

“In 1877 the estimate of dry cocoons exported is 15,000 okes, and of those used in the island 4,000 okes.

Price of cocoons, 3s. 6d. per lb.free on board.”

It can scarcely be disputed that owing to the evenness of the weather in Cyprus after the winter has passed, the island possesses great advantages over many other countries where silkworms are reared.

The wines of Cyprus form one of the principal articles of export. They are made of several qualities: the cheapest are black and red common wines; these are coarse, heady, and have a strong taste of tar, acquired from the casks in which they are kept, and the skins in which they are transported, being always coated with pitch to preserve them from leaking. The tarry flavour is highly disagreeable to most tastes, but the natives are very partial to these wines, and they consider them extremely wholesome. Large quantities of these common wines are exported from Limasol in particular, and also from Larnaca, to Egypt, Syria, and Trieste, but never to Western Europe.

The best wine is that called Commanderia; it derives its name from a commandery formerly possessed by the Templars at Kolossi, about six miles west of Limasol on the road to Baffo. This is a sweet malmsey wine, but strong and heady; when quite new it is of a dark colour like a brown sherry, but after it has been kept two or three years it becomes very much lighter, though when old it again becomes dark, and eventually turns almost black, and thick like syrup. Commanderia, when quite free from contamination by tar, is of a rather agreeable flavour, but does not appear generally to suit English taste, for few English travellers purchase it, and it is never sent direct to England; large quantities are, however, exported annually to Trieste and Constantinople, and some of the older and best qualities are shipped to France and Italy. There is another wine manufactured in Cyprus called “Mavro” (black), as all red wines are styled in Greek. It is very dry, and is consequently not much consumed, for the inhabitants, like all Orientals, prefer rich and sweet wines.

Morocanella is another description of very fair quality. Muscadine is a white wine, which is very sweet, and becomes like syrup even when comparatively new. Raki is a weak white brandy, made from the commonest red wine; a good deal is consumed in the island, the remainder is exported to Turkey. Cyprus wines are in best condition in spring and summer; both their colour and flavour are destroyed by great cold.

The grievances connected with the culture of vines and the manufacture of wine which are alluded to in the consular reports which follow, existed as long ago as 1863, and are then mentioned by Consul White, who says that the peasants were even then beginning to find it more profitable to sell their grapes, or to make them into raisins, rather than by turning them into wine to subject themselves to the duty lately imposed over and above the tithe and export duties, which were collected in a very harassing manner. The growers have had to pay, under the tax called “dimes” an eighth part of the produce of grapes to the treasury; but this could not be taken in kind, so a money value was fixed yearly by the local “medjlis " or mixed tribunal, but as the assessment was based on the market price at the chief town of the district, instead of the value at the place of growth, this tax instead of being about 124 per cent, in reality amounted to over 20 per cent. Then again, when the wine was made, an excise duty of 10 per cent. was levied, and on export a tax of 8 per cent. had to be paid. The natural consequence of these excessive impositions has been the diminution of a culture for which the island is particularly adapted. Consul Lang suggests that it might be wise to free this production from all tax, except a proper export duty.

In 1852, the vines were attacked by a disease called “oidium,” which has prevailed more or less ever since, and has greatly reduced the quantity of wine manufactured. With improved methods of preparation the Cyprus wine trade would doubtless become more extensive, for even the common wine of the country, which is sold at about 1d. per quart bottle, is a wine which in the opinion of competent judges, would be very valuable to the trade for mixing, if freed from its tarry taste.

From Consul Riddell's Report for 1872:--

“The quantity produced in the island of all kinds has been diminishing; this is attributed to heavy and injudicious taxation, the vine disease, and the continued droughts affecting the vineyards. It is also said that although the exportation of the lower ordinary qualities is maintained, there is a remarkable falling-off in the demand in all foreign markets for Commanderia of the better and more expensive sorts.”

From Consul Riddell's Report for 1874 —

“The production of wine in the island has been this year very abundant, ...; the yield of many previous years, especially the common or black sorts, such as are consumed in the island, and largely exported to Egypt and Turkey. Very little of this wine finds its way to any of the European markets, owing chiefly to the “tarry” flavour imparted to it during the processes of fermentation and preparation, which unfits it for the purpose of mixing with other kinds of wine. The quantity of this common wine exported during 1874 is estimated at £27,500 in value.

From Consul Riddell's Report for 1875:—

“The wine trade of Cyprus was last year exceptionally large, owing to the abundant produce of the vineyards in 1874. The outcome .# tapes and wines in 1875 did not exceed an ordinary average, and growers ift' complain loudly that the imposts upon wines, reckoning from the grape to the vat, are so heavy—amounting to about 35 to 40 per cent., and their imposition and collection so very arbitrary and unequal, that many vineyards are being abandoned. The Government, it is said, have under consideration the anomalous state of the wine trade in Cyprus with a view to relieve and redress

the many grievances of which producers complain, and in the meanwhile

the collection of the imposts is suspended. Should the result prove to be the elaboration of a fair, reasonable, and consistent scale of duties, the revival of the wine trade may be reasonably looked forward to, and under sound regulations and with intelligent fostering, the trade could undoubtedly become a large and profitable one to this island. The principal wine-producing districts are situated in the vicinity of Limasol, whence the principal exports are shipped.”

From Consul Pierides' Report for 1876:—

“The quantity of all sorts of wine produced was much below that of 1875. The principal shipments were made to Trieste and Venice. The collection of the imposts, which was for a short time suspended, has recommenced, and the manner in which it is conducted is still arbitrary and vexatious, while remonstrances have hitherto been of no avail. It is time for the Government to put an end to these grievances which indeed threaten to destroy one of the best resources of the island.”

From Consul Watkins' Report for 1877:

“The manufacture of wine here is greatly on the decrease; for, owing to all sorts of unreasonable regulations, and to the vexatious mode of their application, cultivators now prefer making their grapes into raisins.

“The wine produced in 1877 was 2,400,000 okes, of which one-fifth was Commanderia.

“Prices of both, 24 pias. per oke, first cost.”

The fruit of the carob tree (ceratonia siliqua), called in commerce locust-beans, is extensively exported from Cyprus. Until 1827, the sale of this product was a Government monopoly, but since this was abolished the cultivation of the carob tree has greatly increased, wild trees have been grafted, and new plantations are everywhere springing up. The tree flourishes in a wild state throughout the island, but is more particularly abundant in the districts of Limasol and Cerinea. Plantations at a distance from the sea are more productive than those in the immediate vicinity of the coast. General di Cesnola mentions some carob trees growing near Lefca, which measured 120 feet in circumference. The

, or beans, were not many years ago exported chiefly to Trieste, and to Odessa or other Russian ports, but, according to recent trade returns, England has now become the largest purchaser of the beans, which are employed as food for cattle, and also in the manufacture of a kind of molass. From the pulp of the beans the natives manufacture a sort of sweet cake, which they call St. John's bread; it is said to resemble manna, and is highly esteemed as a nutritive article of food; the Russian peasantry also eat a great deal of it during Lent. The great obstacle against a larger export of this product is the cost of freight, which represents about 30 per cent. of its price at the place of shipment. Now that British enterprise is especially directed to Cyprus, it is probable that means will be found to crush, and manufacture it into food for cattle before shipment, and so economize in large part the heavy freight. The production is especially valuable, as it requires but little labour and is largely remunerative; the following reports give full particulars regarding the present state of its culture and export.

From Consul Riddell's Report for 1872:—

“The product of this food is annually increasing throughout the island. The tree grows readily in most soils, and not requiring much moisture or care its cultivation gives little trouble; however, although the tree grows. and thrives without much moisture the yield of fruit is affected during dry seasons, the quantity being less and the quality inferior. The production of 1872 has been moderately abundant, ...} is estimated for all the districts at about 10,000 tons. The export is chiefly to the Russian ports of the Black Sea, and the average prices paid here this season may be reckoned at £4. 10s. perton, which is high, and above the average of previous years.”

From Consul Riddell's Report for 1874:—

“The production of carobs in 1874, which forms a very important product in this island, has been below an average in quantity, whilst the quality is very inferior, attributable, no doubt, to the weaker condition of the trees through previous years of drought. Great, and what appears to be very foolish, competition amongst native exporters and dealers has, however, so far compensated growers by the exorbitant prices paid, and upon which there is too much reason to fear heavy losses must ensue. The abundant rains of last and the previous winter give rise to reasonable expectations of a good carob crop this autumn as regards both quantity and quality.”

From Consul Riddell's Report for 1875:—

“The crop of last year turned out, as anticipated, to be very abundant in uantity, and also of superior quality. At the beginning of the season in §. r, chiefly owing to the heavy losses of ..". year upon shipments to Russia, the export demand was very limited and prices low. Later on a comparatively large demand sprang up for England. Prices rapidly advanced to about £4. 10s. to £5 per ton, and considerable shipments were made at about these figures. This demand has now ceased apparently and prices have receded to about £3.10s. per ton with few purchasers, and also a comparatively small stock left over unsold. . As compared with former ears, Russia has taken a much smaller quantity, the largest proportion fog been sent to English ports. The entire crop is estimated at fully 18,000 tons.”

From Consul Pierides' Report for 1876:—

“The crop was not so abundant as that of 1875. The demand for Russia is on the decline, and England is now our largest purchaser. The demand, however, is less steady, and prices are lower than in 1875. The crop amounts to about 14,500 tons, against 18,000 in 1875. Actual prioe £2 13s.6d. per ton of 20 cwt., free on board.” . . . t

Tobacco,

From Consul Watkins' Report for 1877:—

“The demand for carobs being yearly on the increase, the peasants are seriously turning their attention to the proper cultivation of the tree, which was hitherto somewhat neglected. i. The yield in 1877 averaged 60,000 cantars of Aleppo, against 45,000 in 1876. “It is most abundant when the winter is severe. “In the early part of the season they changed hands at £3.5s. per ton, free on board. so. last purchases were made at £4 perton, free on board.”

The extracts from the Consular Reports which are quoted below, indicate, without necessity for further comment, the cause of the decline in the culture and export of tobacco from Cyprus, and it is enough to mention that 20 years ago the production of this plant in the island was very considerable, also that the qualities grown in certain localities near Limasol, were highly esteemed both in Syria and in Egypt, but at present the production does not represent a tenth part of the consumption of tobacco in the island. The cause of this anomaly is explained by the Consuls, and it has been suggested that in order to raise this valuable culture to its former importance, it might be advisable to free it for a time from all burdens except export duty.

From Consul Lang's Report for 1870:—

“Exorbitant taxation vexatiously applied is rapidly extinguishing the

roduction of this plant in the island. ğ. a few years ago the island pro

#. more than a sufficiency for the wants of the population, now four-fifths of the consumption is supplied by importation.”

From Consul Riddell's Report for 1872:—

“The production of this marcotic in Cyprus is small and is apparently diminishing. Whether from over taxation and other fiscal impositions and hindrances, its growth is discouraged, it is certain that the production, as shown by the revenue derived from it, does not suffice for local wants. Smuggling is probably extensively carried on as well internally as along the seaboard from other countries. he revenue collected from it into the Imperial exchequer amounted in 1868 to only about £400 whilst in 1872 it has not exceeded £300.”

From Consul Riddell's Report for 1875:—

“Under the “Régie” system the production of tobacco in Cyprus, which was never large, has almost ceased ; , on the other hand the consumption ap to be fully maintained, if not indeed exceeded, notwithstanding the j. price to the consumer and the decreased value to the grower. This appears to be amply confirmed by the remarkable increase in the revenue derived from tobacco under the action of the “Régie" which came into operation in Cyprus during the month of April, 1874. To show this more early I have been able to obtain from a reliable source the amount of the excise revenues derived from tobacco in o: during the past five years,

reckoned from and to the 1st (13th) March of each year — Piastres. 1872 .... --- ---- 57,836 1873 .... ---- ---- 25,748 1874 .... ---- ---- 26,260 1875 .... ---- ---- 405,663 1876 .... ---- ---- 845,557

* * The cantar of Aleppo - 180 okes, and is therefore equivalent to about 504 English lbs. av.

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