Syria Joint Rapid Food Security Needs Assessment (Jun 2012)
Crops and livestock sectors are the most affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Major affected crops are the strategic crops, such as wheat and barley; fruit and other trees (cherry, olive, other fruits, ornamental trees) and vegetables in the 9 governorates. Rise in fuel costs and unavailability of labor force have forced the farmers either to abandon farming or let the standing crops unattended. Migrant labors, mainly from the northeastern and eastern parts of the country, have left the agriculture producing areas due to insecurity, which has caused a severe shortage of labor. Labor wages have gone up sharply and the farmers are not able to hire the required number of labors due to lack of money.
Harvesting of wheat has been delayed in Daará, Rural Damascus, Homs and Hama due to lack of labor and reluctance of the machineries owners to rent out their machineries due to insecurity, and hundreds of hectares of wheat are not harvested. There is thus a great risk of losing part of the crop if there is further delay. At the same time, the livelihood of the ‘returnee’ migrant labors in their places of origin is at serious threat due to lack of employment opportunities, and fast depletion of their resources.
Selling of assets has become common among the most vulnerable in all the governorates as an immediate coping strategy. Insecurity has caused restriction in movements of farmers and extension workers that has seriously hampered the agriculture related activities. Pest and insect attacks are not properly addressed. Farmers are turning back to the forest for fire woods due to unavailability of cooking gas and fuel, and deforestation is on the rise.