| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Climate change, conflict decimate Syria’s grain crop

Climate change, a faltering economy and residual security issues have decimated Syria’s 2022 grain crop, leaving the majority of its farmers in a precarious position, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

Syria’s 2022 wheat harvest amounted to around 1 million tonnes, down some 75% from pre-crisis volumes, while barley was almost non-existent, Mike Robson, FAO’s Syria Representative told Reuters.

Erratic rainfall patterns in the past two seasons have shrunk Syria’s wheat crop from around 4 million tonnes annually pre-war, enough to feed itself and export to neighbouring countries in a good year.

Now after more than a decade of conflict many farmers are struggling with harsh economic conditions and security issues in some areas while having to adapt to the new realities of changing weather conditions.

Global wheat prices have also surged since February, after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine halted grain exports from the Black Sea for months.

“Climate change isn’t easy anyway but it is doubly not easy in a place like Syria with high inflation, no power, no good quality inputs and some residual security issues that are still playing up in parts of the country,” Robson said.

The bulk of Syria’s wheat crop, or around 70%, relies on rainfall with irrigation underdeveloped due to war.

The collapse of the Syrian pound has driven up the price of good quality fertilizers, seeds and fuel needed to power water pumps. On Monday, Syria further weakened its official exchange rate to the U.S. dollar by roughly seven percent.

  • Reuters