FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to to the Syrian Arab Republic, 18 July 2017

FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to to the Syrian Arab Republic, 18 July 2017
Jul 2017

Highlights

  • Crop production: Production of wheat and barley in the Syrian Arab Republic slightly improved in 2017 compared to previous year due to better rainfall and improved access to agricultural land in some areas. Total wheat production has been estimated at 1.8 million tonnes, 12 percent more than last year’s record low harvest but still 47 percent less than the pre-conflict average of 3.4 million tonnes (2007-2011). Main agricultural constraints continue to be high production costs, lack of inputs and damaged or destroyed infrastructure, including irrigation.
  • Livestock: Over the past two years, the herd sizes have stabilized albeit at a very low level. Main constraints continue to be high fodder prices, insufficient coverage of veterinary services and access to grazing areas in parts of the country due to the compromised security situation. Improved pasture conditions, benefiting from higher rainfall, should ease pressure from high fodder prices, provided that the access is possible.
  • Displacement: About two in five people are on the move inside the country. By May 2017, 6.3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) were on the move – most of them multiple times - and 440 000 people were able to return to their home areas benefiting from the improved security situation in parts of the country. At the same time, the fluidity of the conflict has resulted in new displacements, with seven out of 14 governorates facing an increased number of IDPs compared to the beginning of the year.
  • Humanitarian access: Overall, there is an improvement in terms of humanitarian access compared to last year with some of the “besieged areas” now considered “hard-to-reach”. Access continues to be heavily constrained in Deir-ez-Zor and Ar-Raqqa. While air-drops have helped to improve the humanitarian situation in Deir-ez-Zor, the situation in Ar-Raqqa has become critical due to the continuing fighting and airstrikes. Shops have been destroyed and the costs of the standard food basket has increased by 42 percent between May and June 2017.
  • Markets: Due to the overall improved security situation and opening of supply routes, trade is slowly recovering throughout the country and urban markets appear to function well. Markets in parts of Eastern Aleppo are slowly starting to recover from a status of full destruction. Food prices continue to be very high compared to two and three years ago, but have slightly decreased at least in parts of the country compared to the previous year.
  • Livelihood trends: With relatively improving access and market functionality, livelihood opportunities in the formal and informal sector are somewhat improved compared with the previous year. The purchasing power of casual labourers and pastoralists has slightly risen since December last year, but continues to be low compared to 2014 and 2015. IDP households are often receiving lower wages or have less capacity to work. Long working hours and resorting to child labour are important elements of their coping strategy. With many men drafted or abroad, women have a larger burden to bear to sustain their families.
  • Food consumption and dietary diversity: Over 30 percent of households have rely on a diet characterised by poor quality and low quantity. The situation is more severe among resident households in hard-to-reach and besieged areas as well as within internally displaced households. Most vulnerable are recently (
  • Coping strategies: Syrians have to resort to food coping strategies to cover the severe food shortages they are facing. Some 50 percent of households have reduced the number of meals and more than 30 percent have restricted the consumption of adults to prioritize children. In the seventh year of the crisis, the large majority of the households have depleted their assets and are no longer able to draw on stocks or other reserves. They resort to child labour or have to withdraw their children from and school to cope.
  • Food assistance needs: Based on the available data, the mission estimates that 6.9 million Syrians are food insecure in terms of current consumption. In addition, the situation of 5.6 million Syrians would likely be worse off without the food assistance provided. An additional 3.1 million are at risk of food insecurity as they are using asset depletion strategies in order to meet their consumption needs, and only 3.5 million can currently be considered food secure.