Изображения страниц
PDF

juniper, and mastic; whilst the carpet of flowers is composed of roses, jasmine, poppies, tulips, hyacinths, narcissus, ranunculus anemones, &c, all of which thrive without any cultivation.

In February and March there is a profusion of lilies along the edges of all streams, and in April and May the flowers which have been mentioned are in their greatest beauty.

Pre. Unger and Eotchy state that in Cyprus, as far as the island has yet been explored, there are a thousand different sorts of plants, and they enumerate all the genera and species.

Still, with all the inducements to cultivate the soil which exist, vast wastes have under the late government been allowed to exist, although probably at one time or another the greater part of them have been under tillage. These uncultivated tracts are burnt up and dry; they are generally covered with bushes of a furzy nature, prickly brambles and thistles, or overgrown with heath, thyme, and various aromatic and odoriferous plants.

In the following chapter, which treats of the agriculture of the island, and those vegetable productions which at present form articles of trade and export, a full account is given of the growth, culture, and quantities of several products which have not been mentioned above, viz., wheat, barley, cotton, madder-roots, silk, vines, (and the manufacture of wine), locust-beans, and tobacco.

CHAPTER VIII.

Agricultural Products.

The report of Consul Riddell for 1872 contains several important "**in tl1.9 facts relating to the agriculture of Cyprus. From it we gather that JJj^TM ° *gn this branch of industry is in a very rude and backward state; the farmers are poor, they possess but small holdings, their implements are of the rudest and least costly description, and they are wholly without the means or knowledge requisite for maintenance of high cultivation. Scarcely any system ' in the rotation of crops is observed; manure in sufficient quantity thoroughly to enrich the soil is not to be obtained, artificial manures are unknown in the island, and their cost would prevent their general use; so, to prevent the land from becoming quite worked out, it is usually allowed to lie fallow every alternate year. No root crops were then produced beyond a few patches of ill-cultivated potatoes in the vicinity of towns, but we now hear better accounts of the potatoes, also that beets, turnips, and artichokes do well under irrigation, the latter yielding from 2$ to 5 tons per acre.

Land has generally hitherto been cheap, but its price varies Different according to its suitability for particular crops, its means of irriga- kint,8of land. tion, and its distance from any town or village. The richest ground is used for crops of madder roots, cotton, tobacco, &c., and it is stated by Consul White that in 1863, good cotton land, in a favourable position, was worth about £9 the acre, and that madder root land at Famagusta commanded a comparatively very high price, as much as £90 the acre having ljeen paid for it; this price is u striking instance of the influence of the situation of land over its value, for the madder roots produced at Famagusta are inferior to those grown at Aghia Irene or at Morpho, yet the land at the former place is five times more valuable than at the others, in consequence in a great measure, of its more convenient position for the shipment of the crop, and the larger population of the district, as well as the greater profit obtained by the earlier growth of the root. In the Messaria, where wheat is largely grown* land averaged in 1863, from £2 to £3. 10s. It is said that ordinary cropr bearing ground fetched on an average £3 an acre, and cotton-producing ground £10 an acre. The value of land both for agricultural and building purposes, may, however, be expected to undergo great change in consequence of the British occupation of the island, and, as far as private properties are concerned, the landowners will probably consider the prices mentioned above to be quite a thing of the past.

(774) - • 4 .•..

Irrigation of As regards irrigation, the country is divided by one writer into

l»nd. fiye ftnfa ._

1. Plains watered by rivers.

2. Land dependent on rain for irrigation.

3. Land watered by wells, and worked by means of mules.

4. Mountainous regions, producing only vines and timber.

5. Soil prepared so as to retain its moisture during the dry season.

Cultivation being in Cyprus so entirely dependent upon the water supply, the nature of the irrigation is of the highest importance in the selection of land. In 1845, land watered by torrents or springs fetched £10 per scala, whilst that which was dependent on rainfall only fetched from Is. to 19s. per scala* Districts i with running waters are cultivated for cotton, barley, and wheat. Droughts have generally occurred in recent times about every fifth or sixth year. Blights are frequent in April and May, and some of the hot winds in summer exercise a very injurious influence upon the crops, especially the cotton plants, which are withered and burnt down to the very roots by it.

The number of acres annually under tillage has been variously fuUmlted" estimated at from 130,000 to 160,000; this, if we take the area of the land. island at 3678 square miles (Keith Johnston,s figures), represents

oidy about one-fifteenth or sixteenth part of the whole country, but as a great part of the land is generally left fallow every alternate year, we may consider that scarcely one-tenth part of the area is under cultivation,! and when it is remembered that the part now cultivated does not yield, owing to the defective modes of culture which have been alluded to, more than perhaps a half of what it might produce, it is evident that there is a wide scope for intelligent development of the agricultural resources of the island.! Consul Lang in his Paper on Cyprus in Macmillan,s Magazine of August, 1878, says that he is still of the same opinion as when, in 1870, he stated that the part which Englishmen have chiefly to play in the development of the agricultural resources of the island, is not as labourers, but as intelligent farmers, bringing their practical knowledge to guide operations carried out by natives, and possessing a sufficient capital to undertake works upon a considerable scale.

A consular Report of 1873, states that the main obstacles to the introduction and general use of improved agricultural implements are not only their cost, but also the ignorance of the native cultivators, who would have to be taught the proper use of European implements, and lastly the want of skilled workmen to keep them in repair.§

* A tcala is about 60 paces square.

f Perhaps as much as one.fourth part of the island has at one time or another been under cultivation, but much of this now bears no traces of tillage, and is covered with thorny scrub and weeds.

1 Report of H.M. Consul upon Industrial Classes, 1873, referred to again at page 146.

I 'YVhen Consul Lang was in Cyprus, he had English ploughs, harrows, 4c, sent out to him, but found after a time that the natives could not give him effective aid with these implements, so he abandoned them, and got the best models of the native plough instead. He says that the results of his efforts in the way of agriculture surpassed oil his expectations.

"

Consul Riddell agrees in the belief that colonization by industrious European farmers, can alone bring about the needful improvements, and he says that the soil, climate, and geographical position of the island offers strong inducements to European immigration, against which the only deterrents wore the long periods of drought, and consequent bad seasons to which the island was subject, and the unfostering character of the Turkish Government . The last of these no longer existing, it is to be hoped that British enterprise may to a certain extent overcome or counteract the evil effects of the first, and that Cyprus may in future years become highly productive. That the water supply for purposes of irrigation can be both improved and economized, is beyond a doubt, and the attention of both the Government and the private agriculturists, will probably be turned at once to this matter.

Consul Eiddell, writing again in 1875, says, " there is a great and increasing scarcity of field labourers, even at comparatively high wages, and there being also a very great want of animal power for agricultural purposes, much of the land put under crop has been insufficiently worked, which will affect the yield and diminish the average quantity."

In 1876, Consul Riddell says, " I am unable to report any improvement either in the system of agriculture or the implements used, and although improved European implements have been partially introduced, they do not appear as yet to have attracted such notice amongst the native agriculturists as to have had any general or even extensive use.

Still the chief wealth of the island lies in its agricultural pro- Agricultural ducts, the most important of which are wheat, barley, cotton, product*, madder roots, silk, wine, raisins, olive oil, locust-beans, tobacco, fruits, and vegetables.

The following details concerning the growth, culture, and amounts of these products are, in a great measure, extracted from the annual reports of the British Consul at Cyprus; the information contained in these is of the highest value, for they indicate very clearly the various causes, such as drought, imperfect cultivation, injudicious taxation, decrease in demand, &c, which in different years have affected the yield, and consequently the export trade of the island, so that if the following remarks are read in conjunction with the statistics of trade which are given in Chapter XIII, a fair estimate of what the wealth of Cyprus might be under an enlightened government can be easily deduced.

The wheat of Cyprus is a hard and small grained variety; wheat, its quality is good and it is said to possess all the advantages of the hard wheats of Russia. It is largely grown in the north part of the Messaria plain, the best lands there are said to have yielded thirty bushels per acre in a good year; throughout the island the yield of wheat ranges from 9 to 20 bushels per acre, averaging 14J bushels; the difference being attributable to the care taken in its cultivation, and the nature of the season; the wheat from the Baffo district is considered the best in the island. In 1862 the harvest was unusually large, and is supposed to have yielded as much as 120,000 quarters; the average annual produce at that time being

(774) . G a

about 80,000 quarters. The sowing season commences in October, and continues as the weather permits, until the beginning of January, the harvest commences at the end of May, or beginning of June. It has been noticed that the value of all the grains of Cyprus is lowered in European markets in consequence of the primitive manner in which the operation of threshing is conducted; it is found that small stones from the threshing-floor become mixed with the grain, and can only be separated afterwards at great trouble and expense. This defect can of course be easily remedied, but at present it is a fatal objection to the use of the grain by nearly all the grinders of flour in England.

Barley. The barley of Cyprus is a good description, and superior to the

ordinary Egyptian barley. In the best lauds of Messaria the yield per acre in a good year is said to be as high as forty bushels, and the average throughout the island is about twenty-nine bushels. The average produce of the island is about 120,000 quarters, but the harvest of 1862, which, as stated above, was very abundant, yielded 180,000 quarters. The seed is sown during September and the two following months, and the crop is reaped at the close of April, and the beginning of May, thus preceding the wheat harvest by about a month.

Grain crops. The following extracts from consular reports indicate the

variations which occur in the grain crops generally from year to year, and show clearly how they may be accounted for.

From Consul ltiddoll,s Itoport for 1872:—

"The grain harvest of 1872, though superior to that of the previous year, was yet below the average of what is considered a good year ill Cyprus. In 1870 the grain crops were a total failure ; in 1871 the production sufficed for seed and the wants of the population, with only a small surplus left over for exportation; in 1872 there was comparatively a much larger quantity of both wheat and barley exported, which was chiefly sent, the former to the Archipelago and Italy and the latter to Barbary, where nearly a famine prevailed. The average prices obtained here may be quoted at about His. 6d. for barley, and 34*. for wheat per imperial quarter. I regret to have to state that, owing to the want of sufficient rain, the crops of 1873 are likely to be nearly a failure again, and at the best it is reckoned that few farmers will gather from their cultivated lands more than the seed sown upon them, in many cases not even this, thus losing all their labour and receiving nothing to support themselves, their families, and the animals neceesary to till the ground and prepare it for next year,s crops. The lot of the peasant fanner in Cyprus has become, through a succession of bad seasons and drought, one of extreme hardship and poverty, and 1 trust the Imperial Government may come to their aid, generously and timely, either by remission of taxes or giving employment on public works undertaken for this purpose, ^and for which there is a profitable field."

From Consul Kiddell,s Report for 1873 :—

"In my Report for the year 1872 I mentioned that owing to the want of sufficient rain the harvests of 1873 were likely to turn out a failure. This has proved to be the case to an extent even exceeding the worst apprehensions; and unfortunately applies to nearly all the products of the island, so that not only have large quantities of grain been imported at high prices, with an accompanying strain upon the financial resources of the island, but also there having been little produce for exportation, trade has severely suifered throughout the year. The prices of grain continued until the end of June at about the same as stated in my Report of 1872, say £1. Us. for wheat, and

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »