Securing vulnerable farmers’ livelihoods by providing quality wheat seed

Securing vulnerable farmers’ livelihoods by providing quality wheat seed

15/02/2021

Every year thousands of farmers in the Syrian Arab Republic prepare their land for seeding during the wheat-planting season between November and December. They are always looking to produce higher quantities and quality of wheat to increase their profit and to produce enough wheat to secure the domestic supply of the key food commodity. However, farmers have been facing serious challenges in a crisis-affected country for the last ten years.

Farmers cultivating grain have tended to lack access to good inputs, including seed and fertilizers, due to shortages in the local market. These farmers have fallen back on using low-quality alternatives from unknown or unreliable sources. In addition, many farmers find themselves unable to buy the needed inputs due to limited cash as a result of the extreme decline of the local currency and inflation in the price of various commodities.

Taking all the factors into account, FAO Syria and the Syrian Humanitarian Fund have partnered for the fourth consecutive year to provide 23 250 vulnerable farming households with accredited wheat seed to support improved grain production this season (23 250 households in 2020/21). The organizations have reached farmers in Aleppo, Al Hassakeh, Ar-Raqqa, Deir Ez-Zor and Hama (Al Ghab) governorates with 4 650 tonnes of wheat seed. Each farmer received 200 kg of seed, enough to plant 1 ha of land and to produce approximately 2 tonnes of grain.

One of the beneficiaries is Khereyeh Al Elewi, a mother of 16 who heads her household in Rural Aleppo Governorate. Khereyeh said that she and her family rely on wheat production as their only source of livelihood, “I inherited wheat farming from my parents and my grandparents.” Khereyeh hopes to earn a profit from the wheat she will harvest this season, “this income is vital as it will help me cover my children’s education expenses.” 

According to FAO Syria Representative, Mike Robson, the purpose of the intervention is to protect the vulnerable farmers’ only source of livelihood and income by providing them with the needed inputs in addition to covering the needs for wheat products, such as flour, burghul and freekeh.

“Wheat is a staple food commodity for Syrians. With FAO and the Syrian Humanitarian Fund’s support to improve the wheat production situation in the country, both farmers and the wider community will have better access to enough food produced locally, one contribution to reducing the number of food-insecure people in Syria,” added Robson.