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Syria Crisis - Executive brief 3 April 2014
An estimated 6.3 million people in Syria are highly vulnerable to food insecurity and in critical need of food and agriculture support. The crisis has severely limited food production, marketing and imports. Livelihood loss, deepening poverty, inflation and steep depreciation of the Syrian pound have further eroded the capacity of families to meet basic needs and cope with the crisis. Many families report reducing their number of meals and opting for cheaper and less nutritious foods. The most vulnerable affected groups will remain unable to produce or access adequate food to meet basic needs this year, necessitating the continued and expanded provision of multiple forms of emergency food and agricultural assistance.
Agricultural production downfalls
Despite the potential of agriculture to address mounting food availability and access constraints, little has been invested to protect and support recovery of the sector – such as animal disease prevention and control particularly in border areas and supply of farming inputs to sustain staple food production. Latest assessments confirm low 2012/13 cereal production and anticipate low output for 2013/14 due to reduced areas under cultivation and adverse climatic conditions. These factors – coupled with the decreased capacity of rural farming populations to generate income and access food in highly affected areas – increasingly hinder food security.
Agriculture-based livelihoods face severe constraints across the value chain – from production to market. Major constraints include: restricted access to land due to violence; internal population displacement; reduced availability and increased cost of farming inputs (e.g. equipment, seeds, fertilizer, labour); physical damage to land, farming equipment and infrastructure; increased cost of and reduced access to animal feed sources; and reduced veterinary supplies and services.