Syria Crisis - Executive brief 15 September 2014

Syria Crisis - Executive brief 15 September 2014
Sep 2014

Food insecurity

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. With localized drought in much of the country, food production is expected to further decline. Livelihood loss, deepening poverty, inflation and steep depreciation of the Syrian pound have further eroded families’ ability to meet basic needs and cope. Many report reducing the number of meals and opting for cheaper and less nutritious foods. The most vulnerable groups will remain unable to produce or access adequate food to meet basic needs this year, necessitating continued and expanded provision of multiple forms of emergency food and agricultural assistance.

Agricultural production downfalls exacerbated by low rainfall

Despite the potential of agriculture to address mounting food availability and access constraints, little has been invested to support recovery of the sector. Latest assessments confirm low 2012/13 cereal production and anticipate low output for 2013/14 (18 percent below last year’s poor crop and around 52 percent below the 2001-2011 average) due to drought conditions in the main crop production areas, reduced areas under cultivation, limited access to farmland and inputs. These factors, coupled with decreased capacity of farming populations to generate income and access food in highly affected areas, increasingly hinder food security.

Livelihood constraints

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 displacement; reduced availability and increased cost of farming inputs (seeds, fertilizers, animal feed, veterinary supplies, etc.); damage to land, farming equipment and infrastructure (including irrigation and storage), and market disruption.