Food & Agriculture
Syria’s wheat and barley crops are likely to decline this year for the third successive year due to small planted areas, climatic factors, and shortages in oil products and fertilisers, which have become chronic issues for Syria’s agriculture sector.
A Food and Agriculture Organisation project, which represents the first Russia-funded FAO project in Syria, has recently launched operations in Aleppo.
Syria’s cotton and olive harvests are forecast to be slightly higher this year, helping the government generate much-needed foreign currency. Meanwhile, olive and olive oil production has remained stable throughout the conflict.
Wheat and barley production has declined significantly across all of Syria for the second year in a row due to climate change, low water levels in the Euphrates River, and production input shortages, according to official data. This season's wheat production is 75 percent lower than pre-crisis volumes.
Amid record-high food insecurity in Syria, a Qatari charity recently inaugurated a silo complex in the town of Al-Rai, located in rural Aleppo, under the control of the Turkish-backed Syrian Interim Government.
Because of its economic and environmental impact, fishing by dynamite and electric shock is increasingly banned in Syria.
The government has re-issued a tender to purchase thousands of tonnes of fertiliser for the ninth time since last year, raising questions about the status of local production.
During a recent meeting in Beirut, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq’s agriculture ministers agreed to boost agricultural cooperation and discussed the prospects of establishing a joint company to market agricultural products from each country.
Low water levels are straining Syria’s agricultural sector and forcing Syrians to face rising prices and water-borne diseases as the country endures a severe and long-term drought, according to various reports and statements.
The government has taken measures to revive the sugar beet industry for the 2021-22 season, incentivising farmers to harvest and relaunching a state-owned sugar factory that suspended refining operations for nearly seven years.
The government increased the price at which it buys cotton and tobacco from local farmers by up to 67 percent per tonne.
The WFP has indicated that the prices of food and non-food items in Syria increased significantly in March as a result of Ukraine’s unfolding crisis and the conflict’s repercussions on global food and energy markets.
The Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria announced that it will purchase wheat from local farmers at a price 91 percent higher than last year and 5 percent higher than that of the Syrian government.
The government is increasing the price at which it will buy wheat from local farmers by 40 percent year-on-year, as fears of wheat shortages loom large in view of acute climate conditions and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
India is reportedly planning to donate thousands of tonnes of wheat and rice to Syria in order to relieve its chronic food shortages.
Israel has recently launched this year’s state-funded agricultural support programme which offers free land and funds to Israeli farmers in exchange for cultivating land and living in the occupied Golan Heights and Galilee. The Israeli government is also facilitating a renewable energy project that is slated to be built on land owned by native Syrians.
On January 12, a high-ranking government delegation visited the coastal cities of Lattakia and Tartous to offer government support to discontented citrus farmers whose harvests have been severely impacted by the economic and climatic crises, as well as government policies.
Last year, the Syrian government’s wheat imports more than doubled while its procurements of domestic wheat dropped by 48 percent on a year-on-year basis amid severe shortages across the country. Meanwhile, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria recently announced plans to import wheat to meet local demand.
Although the security situation is the best it has been since the start of the conflict, the agricultural sector in Syria suffers from unfavourable infrastructural, economic, and climatic conditions, according to a 94-page report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The Syrian government is arranging to import hundreds of cows from Iran, according to the Damascus Chamber of Agriculture. The plan further confirms shortages in the country, whose livestock sector was self-sufficient prior to the conflict.