Reference Date: 22-December-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Despite overall favourable weather conditions, sowing of 2015 crops, currently underway, is affected by ongoing conflict
Below-average cereal production estimated in 2014 due to impact of conflict and drought conditions
Prolonged conflict has severely impacted on country’s food security situation especially for vulnerable groups
Planting of 2015 winter wheat and barley crops, to be harvested from May 2014, is currently ongoing. Despite favourable weather conditions, the ongoing conflict and lack of inputs is seriously hampering agricultural activities.
Well below-average cereal production estimated in 2014
Harvesting of 2014 winter grains was completed in July. Reduced plantings and drought conditions in some parts of the country have negatively impacted yields and overall production. Estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (MAAR) put the actual wheat and barley plantings about 23 and 19 percent lower, respectively, than the intended level of planting at the start of the season. In addition, the area actually harvested was reduced further in many areas. Rainfall during the 2013-14 cropping season was particularly poor in terms of both quantity and distribution. According to the meteorological information reported from the governorates through MAAR, until 21 April 2014 the country had received, on average, only 44 percent of the rainfall that had been received in the same period in 2012/13, and rainfall in the 2013/14 main cropping season amounted to only 51 percent of the annual average. Remote sensing analysis confirms the unfavourable crop growing conditions which prevailed during the 2013/14 cropping season (see ASI map).
The ongoing conflict compounded the problem by limiting the farmers’ movements; though damage to agricultural machinery, irrigation systems and storage facilities; through disruption of electricity supplies; and by limiting access to inputs such as improved seeds and fuel.
The Syrian Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (MAAR) estimated the 2014 wheat production at 1.865 million tonnes, 40 percent less than in 2013 and the lowest level of wheat production for 25 years.
Cereal import requirement expected to increase in 2014/15 marketing year (July/June)
The Syrian Arab Republic normally relies heavily on food imports amounting to almost half of the total domestic utilization. Overall, the cereal import requirement is expected to increase in the subsequent 2014/15 market year to 4.6 million tonnes compared to this year’s projected 4.3 million tonnes. Of this, the wheat import requirement in 2014/15 (July/June) is tentatively forecast at about 2 million tonnes.
3.2 million refugees registered in region
As of early December 2014, about 3.2 million refugees are registered in the region covering Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Although WFP continues to provide food assistance to vulnerable Syrian populations in the region, resources in host communities remain under strain. The WFP assistance in neighbouring countries is scaled to reach more than 2.5 million beneficiaries by December 2014, up from 795 000 in June 2013.