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Syrian farmers in Ar-Raqqa governorate receiving cereal seeds from FAO
FAO is distributing over 1 100 tonnes of wheat and barley seeds in Ar-Raqqa governorate to meet the needs of nearly 4 500 small-scale farmers for the autumn/winter planting season, which began in October.
The assistance, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), will enable farmers to cultivate a total of nearly 4 500 hectares and harvest more than 9 800 tonnes of cereals. This will help farming families restore their livelihoods and improve their food and nutrition security.
The distribution is ongoing with the support of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, a FAO partner organization, and will reach seven locations in Ar-Raqqa governorate: Raqqa center, Beer Al Hashm, Al Karama, Khas Ejeil, Maadan, Al Sabkha and Al Mansoura. Despite the fragile security situation in Ar-Raqqa governorate, activities began mid-September and are progressing well, allowing farmers to plant in time for this season. To date, 2 500 households have received cereal seeds.
Ar-Raqqa governorate is part of the so called “cereal belt” of Syria (including also Aleppo, Al-Hassakeh, Deir-Ez-Zor, Hama and Idleb governorates), which produces more than 80 percent of wheat nationwide. Agriculture-based livelihoods in Ar-Raqqa and other parts of Syria face severe constraints across the value chain, affecting farmers’ food security and coping strategies.
This year, cereal crop production in the governorate was particularly affected by the conflict, drought conditions and limited access to land and essential production inputs. According to FAO estimates, Syria’s overall cereal production in 2014 amounted to around 2.4 million tonnes, which is approximately 18 percent below total production in 2013 and 38 percent below the five-year average (2009-13).
FAO urgently seeks funding to help more families resume their farming activities in 2014 and 2015.