HISTORY ETHNOGRAPHY NATURE WINE-MAKING SITE MAP
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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 372

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and at once ensures the crop and renders the farmer independent of the seasons. But including the cost of constructing the numerous water-channels of clay to conduct the stream to the desired fields, together with the expense of erecting the reservoirs of masonry upon a sufficient scale, I should raise the original outlay for irrigation by cattle-wheels to 20s. per acre (,£1). This would include the services of a pair of oxen for other work when the sakyeeah should not be required.1 According to this calculation, which exceeds by a large margin the figures given to me by several native farmers, the owner of. a hundred acres must only expend ^ "ioo to ensure his annual crops ! To us this appears nothing, but to the Cypriote it is everything. Where is he to obtain one hundred pounds ? To him the sum is enormous and overpowering. In times of scarcity, which unfortunately are the general conditions of the country, owing to the deficiency of rain, the farmer must borrow money not only for the current expenses of his employment, but for the bare sustenance of his family ; he has recourse to the usurer, and henceforth becomes his slave. The rate of interest may be anything that can be imagined when extortion acts upon one side while poverty and absolute famine are the petitioners. The farm, together with the stock, are mortgaged, and the expected crops for a stipulated number of seasons are made over to the usurer at a fixed sum per measure of corn, far below the market price. Another bad season adds to the crushing burden, and after a few years, when the unfortunate landowner is completely overwhelmed with The wheel I have described is double the power of those in general use in Cyprus, where a single animal works the sakyeeah, and it would irrigate a larger acreage.

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