Threatening food security | Regime government purchases wheat from farmers for a lower price than fodder’s • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Threatening food security | Regime government purchases wheat from farmers for a lower price than fodder’s

The Syrian regime government has set up the new pricing plan to purchase wheat harvest of this season, 2022, from farmers. With 300 SYP higher than the last year’s price, the government set the purchase price of a kilogram of wheat in the current season at 2,000 Syrian pounds. This is a very low price if compared with the expenses of cultivation, cost of living and prohibitively high prices of most of products.

 

During the “Cereal Conference” which was held on Saturday, May 14, the regime government set the purchase price of a kilogram of wheat at 1,700 SYP plus financial rewards of 300 SYP per kilogram to be granted to farmers who would deliver their harvest to the government’s centres in the so-called “safe zone.” In addition, farmers for “non-safe zones,” the areas outside regime-controlled areas such as SDF-held areas in north-east Syria, would be granted rewards of 400 SYP per kilogram, when they deliver their harvest to the governmental centres, according to the latest decision.

 

Meanwhile, the new pricing plan was met with broad anger and criticism among farmers in regime-controlled areas, as the price set by the regime government to purchase wheat is lower than the price of fodder.

 

This season, the average production of an acre of farmland planted with wheat is expected to be 300 to 350 kilograms. Accordingly, farmers need to sell more than a half of their harvest just to cover the high cost of cultivation.

 

An agronomist known by his initials as M. B. sees that the regime government is attempting to rely on the local production by setting such prices which are mandatory for farmers in regime-controlled areas. The man remarked that the regime has been affected greatly following the suspension of importing Russian wheat following the military campaign by Russia in Ukraine, noting that some Arab countries provides the Syrian regime with wheat, but in very limited amounts.

 

The agronomist has told SOHR, “the expenses which farmers bear from the beginning of cultivation to the time of harvest, including the cost of fuel, fertilizers, insecticide, wages for workers and fees of hiring harvester and other machines, are very high. While the price set by the government, 2,000 SYP per kilogram, is very low and it almost covers the expenses of cultivation. In the best condition, farmers may get a very low profit. When we compare the prices of purchasing wheat in all zones of influence throughout Syria, we find out that the price set by the Syrian regime is always the least. The Syrian regime takes the advantage of the ban of exporting wheat outside Syria except through its harbours, exerting pressure on farmers, although the government has never provided any support to farmers to help them improve their production. Accordingly, farmers find themselves are forced to sell their harvest for this low price.”

 

It is worth noting that the cost of cultivation in areas controlled by the Syrian regime and their proxy militias is very high, not to mention the lack of water needed for irrigation, taxes imposed by the government on the farmers and other challenges that farmers face due to the ongoing conflict. All these factors, as well as the government’s random and unstudied decisions, threaten the food security in Syria.

 

Moreover, regime government drains civilians in areas under its control by raising prices and imposing more taxes with the aim of covering the fiscal deficit in light of the US sanctions and cessation of business and commercial relations with many Arab and foreign countries, as well as the heavy material loss that regime forces have been inflicted due to the protracted war. Furthermore, the agriculture sector has deteriorated greatly, especially the production of wheat, even in provinces of east Syria region, which had previously covered Syria’s need of wheat every year.

 

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