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Syria needs to produce food - Image courtesy of the Sham News Network

Crisis in Syria

Since March 2011, violence in Syria has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and injured countless civilians.


  • Syria: USD 59.1 MILLION
  • Region: USD 62 MILLION

As of December 2014, over 50 percent of the population has fled their homes, including 7.6 million people displaced internally and more than 3.8 million refugees in neighbouring countries. Each day, thousands continue to cross into Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, where needs far exceed the resources of host governments and communities. Within Syria, 12.2 million people – 67 percent of the total population – require some form of humanitarian assistance. Around 9.8 million people in Syria are food insecure, including 6.8 million in priority districts.

Reduced areas under cultivation and drought conditions within Syria in 2014 led to a 51 percent drop in cereal yield compared to the pre-crisis average (2001-2011). Livestock production is also in jeopardy as herders cannot source or afford enough animal feed, and veterinary services are no longer functioning. Many have lost their assets to conflict or been forced to abandon their fields and animals. Despite enormous challenges, agriculture remains the backbone of rural livelihoods and sustains food supply in the country.

In neighbouring host countries, most Syrian refugees are located in rural areas where agriculture is the primary source of livelihood. With the increasing availability of Syrian labour, farm wages are diminishing. Many local small-scale farmers and livestock breeders have suffered significant losses in income due to the inability to access their crops and land, reduced availability of water, increases in the cost of agricultural inputs and the loss of cross-border trading opportunities. Uncontrolled livestock movement from Syria is increasing the risk of livestock diseases and zoonoses spreading regionally.

The 2015 Syria Strategic Response Plan and 2015-16 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan take stock of the rise in affected populations and their needs, with total funding requirements of approximately USD 2.9 billion in Syria and USD 5.5 billion in neighbouring countries.

Within the 2015 Syria Strategic Response Plan, FAO’s priorities include:

  • support staple food production;
  • increase household nutrition and income;
  • protect livestock assets; and
  • coordinate an effective food security response.

Within the 2015-16 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan, FAO is working with partners in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to:

  • enhance the capacity of affected communities to use their resources and assets to increase agricultural production and incomes in more effective and sustainable ways; and
  • monitor closely and analyse data on the food and nutrition security situation of vulnerable households to inform decision-making and resilience-based programming.

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