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Khabar Khair (Only Good News) – Fatima Rashad

Yemenis today have rejected everything that could remind them of the smell of gunpowder which has fueled the state of conflict that has been raging in the country for years.

In the gatherings of Yemenis, their joys and parties, the cheerful white Arabian jasmine (“Full”) and its fragrant smell are present to decorate these occasions with the fragrant scent smells, and its white color extends to offer peace to the place.

“Full” Farms

“Full” is cultivated in southern and western Yemen in the governorates of Lahj and Hudaydah in particular. Then it is transferred to the forest markets (the “Full” Stock Exchange). After the process of evaluating the product among the “Full” dealers, it is distributed to the marketers of “Full”, who in turn deliver it to the markets in the cities, especially to Aden, Sana’a and other Yemeni governorates.

There are “Full” farms in Lahj and Hudaydah governorates, and “Al-Lahji” “Full” is the finest type of jasmine in Yemen because of its strong fragrance that lasts for long periods of time.

Abboud Awwas (owner of an Arabian jasmine farm) told “Khabar Kheir” (Good News) website, “We are a family that inherited the cultivation of “Full” and pandanus for decades. We cultivate three acres, one and a half acres for “Full” and the same for pandanus and machmoum (made of Jasmine or “Full – small flower bouquet).

Awwas adds, “Some days, the jasmine brings us 30,000 Yemeni riyals, and other days the yield reaches 125,000 riyals, which is equivalent to 135 dollars. The more the “Full” crop increases and the demand for it increases, the better is the income, and prices are subject to supply and demand in the market”.

While we were wandering around the Lahj governorate, we met Uncle Salam Ali, who was holding the vaults of the pandanus in his hands. He stopped us and told us in his hoarse voice, “This is the “Full” heritage that I carry in my hands, and this scent is only available in the jasmine of Lahj”.

Yeslam Ali promotes the pandanus in the Lahj market of which he takes care all year long to sell in the “Full” market.

Uncle Yeslam calls on the state and the concerned authorities to take care of the “Full” and pandanus farms, and says, “We suffer from the lack of specialists interest in us, and we want to be provided by support in order to develop the cultivation of “Full” and pandanus because of its good returns, not on a personal level, but that its revenues can revive the local economy”.

“Full” Stock Exchange

Helmy Ahmed Abdullah (Akel of the market of “Full” in Lahj) talks to the “Khabar Kheir” (Good News) website about the negotiation process and the auction hour when they sell the “Full”. He says, “The Lahji culture is linked to the “Full”, which is what distinguishes the province of Lahj”.

The market Akel continues his speech after he settled the sale process between the “Full” dealers and the farmers, saying, “The city of Al-Houta, the capital of Lahj Governorate, is the one that gathers the sellers of “Full” and its aftermath and farmers in the jasmine auction markets”.

The market’s Akel adds, “All the sellers gather here, each offers his own “Full” and then sells it. The farmers and sellers face difficulties in their work, but the reality of the problems of the “Full” farmers is no less than the “Full” sellers, as the difficulties facing the “Full” farmers are concentrated in the diesel material they need in order to operate the water pumps that irrigate the “Full” trees, in addition to their inability to obtain seedlings at cheap prices, as well as the high prices of pesticides that the farmer needs to maintain his “Full” crop, and sometimes their absence”.

He says, “One of the most prominent problems that we face in the market is the increase in the quantity of “Full” supply over demand, which makes it difficult for the marketing process”.

Fragrance in the Streets

We hear the voice of “Muhammed Saleh” calling out on the road “Full, Full” (Arabian jasmine), to indicate the wreaths of “Full” that he carries.

Muhammed, a 17-year-old man, talks to “Khabar Kheir” (Good News) about his experience in selling “Full”, saying, “I am a high school student, but I have been selling “Full” for three years. I take it from a seller in Aden governorate who brings it from Lahj governorate to sell it in Aden. I stand in the streets selling ‘Full’ ”. Muhammed asserts that the sale of the “Full” provided him with a job opportunity that helped him improve his living situation.

Thousands of Yemenis work in cultivating and selling “Full”, so it is necessary to pay attention to this tree, increase its cultivation area, and provide farmers’ needs to continue planting the finest “Full” seedlings and its aftermath.

Jalal Salem (an engineer in the agricultural advisory) says, “The area planted in the Lahj governorate is estimated at 80 acres or 100 acres, and this area is constantly increasing”.

Jalal confirms that the number of “Full” farmers is estimated between 150 to 200 farmers, and it is possible to plant approximately 500 seedlings per acre, and the distance between the seedling and the other is two meters on one line and two meters between the lines. Hence, planting “Full” starts from the beginning of September to the month of March.

Eng. Jalal explains that the irrigation periods for “Full” when planting are a week long and then increase according to the age of the plant, while the productivity of the “Full” begins to increase from March until it reaches its highest levels and continues until September and then begins to decline with the decrease in temperatures, and is almost very few during the month of November, December and the beginning of January to March and then rises again.

And he said, “The pandanus is not mainly planted in Lahj, but is planted on the sides of irrigation canals and at a distance of about five meters between a tree and the other, in the manner of seedlings, just like palm trees”.

Aden governorate is the governorate in which there are many “Full” sellers, because of the people’s demand for it, as it is a tourist destination, and there are many visitors from other governorates who are attracted by the smell of “Full”.

“Full” fragrance

The cooked perfume maker Umm Sami says, “I am attracted by the fragrance of “Full”, which is included in many incenses, civet, and akhzarain recipes, and many aromatic recipes, because it has a smart and distinctive smell”.

Many women like the smell of jasmine and prefer it in cooked perfume and incense, so incense and perfume sellers focus on making this perfume one of the basics of cooked perfume and incense.

Tying “Full” Is an Art

And between tying (collecting “Full” flowers with a knitted thread) in artistic ways, there are many names of jasmine necklaces, including: Al- Shardkha, Al- Jaras, Al-Taj and Al- Taqeedah. These beautiful pieces of arts are made by hands trained in collecting “Full” flowers gently.

Talal Saeed (a “Full” seller in Aden for 13 years) and Ammar Muhammed (who has been working in the same profession for 18 years) confirm that “Full” of Lahj has a strong and persistent aroma, and this type of “Full” is taken by the travelers on the land roads and transported to neighboring governorates because it does not wither or change color if stored properly.

He said, “The prices of the “Full” in the summer reach 200 or 300 riyals per one, unlike the winter season, in which the profits of the sellers of the “Full” increase, as its price in the winter reaches 1000 riyals and may reach 2000 riyals, i.e., from one to two dollars”.

Decorations for All Occasions

No occasion is held in Yemen unless “Full” is present. This is confirmed by Umm Noran, who stands in front of the “Full” seller to take some forms of Al-shardkha (headband) for the family marriage that she will attend, and the price of the quantity she took of “Full” is 30,000 Yemeni riyals.

For his part, the Under Secretary of the Agriculture and Extension office said, “The “Full” and the pandanus are grown in small areas, but their yields are great. They are better than other crops in terms of their ability to withstand drought and overcome weeds”.

He added, “The profits of “Full” and pandanus are a return for the individual. That is why we do not interfere much in the farmers’ problems, because the wise market is the one which solves them, and they do not come to us to present the difficulties they face, and they only come for the sake of seedlings and fertilizers”.

People in Lahj say that Prince Al-Qaamandan was the first to bring the “Full” tree to Yemen upon his return from India. This white rose, a symbol of purity, and its pungent smell stole the heart of Al-Qaamandan and pushed him to take it with him to Yemen in order to decorate the green land of Lahj.

As soon as the flowers of “Full” and pandanus are mentioned, the memory recalls the authentic singing of Lahj, the poems of the prince Al-Qaamandan and other poets and artists who were enriched by the Al-Qaamandan, the adornment of women and men, which is present on all Yemeni occasions.

A bride, zaffa and the song of Faisal Alawi, who says at the beginning, “O Rose, O Pandanus… O “Full”, O Nadi, the singing evenings ever coming back?” The bride’s dance on which “Full” is scattered is the heritage of our beautiful past and present. The presence of “Full” is a wonderful magician that draws on the faces of the attendees looks of joy, as the bride’s neck is always crowned with the royal “Full” atoms, and the words of poems embroidered with “Full” are endless in the Yemeni songs, like the song of the artist Atroush, who says at the beginning, “We went to Al-Bandar (Harbor) in April, bought and sold the “Full” to this and that”.

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Tamara Boulos

Tamara Boulos

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