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Syria needs to produce food

Crisis in Syria

The nine-year Syrian crisis continues to drive humanitarian needs. The main driver of food insecurity continues to be population displacement. Despite decreased levels of conflict in many areas, its relenting presence has led to sustained hostilities, protracted displacement, increased returns and persistent erosion of communities’ resilience. Within the country, where 6.2 million people remain displaced and 1.4 million have returned, resources are increasingly depleted. Externally, the precarious situation continues to propel the largest refugee crisis in the world. Some 5.6 million refugees reside in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, where needs far exceed the resources of host governments and communities. More than eight in 10 people in the Syrian Arab Republic now live below the poverty line.

Enhanced agricultural production and food security coordination for better livelihoods

The loss or lack of sustained livelihoods has led to the adoption of decreased coping strategies. Reduced productive assets and savings, limited economic prospects and the extensive damage and contamination of agriculture-related infrastructures have had a significant socioeconomic impact on the population and significantly disrupted agricultural livelihoods. Pockets of chronic levels of deprivation is adding to people’s adoption of negative coping mechanisms, such as reduced food consumption.

Improvements in security has translated into improved access to agricultural land in some areas. However, erratic weather such as the worst drought in 30 years and unfavorable rain distribution has resulted in a sharp decline in cereal production, leading to a wheat deficit. Furthermore, agro-pastoral and pastoral households have also endured hardship, where a reduction of their livestock assets is estimated to be about half of the pre-crisis levels.

Although the agriculture sector produces food for more than half of the population, and contributes to 25–30 percent of the GDP, the levels of food insecurity remain high. An estimated 6.5 million people are food insecure and a further 2.5 million are at risk of food insecurity. It is therefore critical to restore and protect the agricultural livelihoods of Syrians and reduce their use of negative coping mechanism to meet their daily needs. To increase self-reliance and strengthen resilience, FAO aims to protect and build productive assets, and restore or create income-generating opportunities.

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