Amid organizations’ ineffective role | Agriculture in Jazeera region deteriorates alarmingly, risking food security in Syria
The agriculture section in the Syrian Jazeera experiences an alarming drop in production, along with the disappearance of some strategic crops almost completely. The Jazeera region is considered the source of Syria’s food production, as most of the country’s needs of wheat, barley, legumes and vegetables are planted there. This drop in production, which is the worst in the past 30 years, is attributed to the regime government’s cancellation of subsidization to farmers as well as the Autonomous Administration’s negligence of agriculture and not providing high-quality seeds, azotobacter fertilizers or chemicals needed for fighting insects and plant diseases.
According to regime authorities’ official statistics, the production has greatly declined, as the production of wheat reached 3.9 million tons before the “Syrian Revolution”. However, it declined constantly after the start of Syria’s conflict as follows:
- 2012: 1.6 million tons.
- 2015: 425,000 tons.
- 2016: 420,000 tons.
Recently, the production of wheat and barley has considerably dropped to only 1.2 million tons.
On the other hand, farmers are struggling with the fuel shortage and high prices, the high cost of cultivation, and poor marketing which has been greatly affected by the Syrian currency plunge.
The lack of local and international organizations to support farmers and incite them to enlarge the planted areas is another contributing factor that have been considered.
With the high cost of cultivation and poor marketing, new crops have appeared at the expense of other strategic ones like cotton. Moreover, the subsiding production of wheat led to flour shortage; this, in turn, resulted to the recent acute bread shortage.
The production of vegetables has less dramatically dropped because of the high cost of cultivation and low labour. The conserves and canned food industry therefore have been noticeably subsided, risking the food security in the whole Syria, particularly the Autonomous Administration-controlled areas.