Reference Date: 29-August-2014
Below-average cereal production estimated in 2014 due to the impact of conflict and drought conditions
The prolonged conflict has severely impacted on the country’s food security situation especially for vulnerable groups
Well below-average cereal production estimated in 2014
Harvesting of 2014 winter grains is completed. Reduced plantings and drought conditions in some parts of the country have negatively impacted yields and overall production. Estimates put the actual plantings about 21 percent lower than the intended level planned at the start of the season. Several factors, including high costs of production, reduced input availability including labour, prevailing violence, related damage to farm equipment, abandoned land, power cuts, damage to power stations, canals and pumps, and high diesel costs, as well as dry conditions at the time of planting have contributed to the decline in production.
FAO estimates puts the cereal harvest at about 2.4 million tonnes consisting of about 2 million tonnes or wheat and 400 000 tonnes of barley and other cereals. The Syrian Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (MAAR) estimated the aggregate wheat production at 2.95 million tonnes, with approximately 2.3 million tonnes from the irrigated sector and 0.63 million tonnes from rainfed crops.
According to the local press, as of end of July 2014 the General Organisation for Cereal Trade and Processing domestically procured 500 000 tonnes of wheat and 120 000 tonnes of barley. The amount procured compares with an average of 2.8 million tonnes of wheat between the years of 2002 and 2012. In 2008 when wheat production, at 2.1 million tonnes was at its lowest, domestic procurement amounted to 1.2 million tonnes.
Cereal import requirement expected to increase in the 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 4.53 million tonnes compared to this year’s projected 4 million tonnes. Of this, the wheat import requirement in 2014/15 (July/June) is tentatively forecast at about 2 million tonnes. Recorded commercial exports of cereals to the Syrian Arab Republic between July 2013 and February 2014 (last data available) reached approximately 1.3 million tonnes, of which around 890 000 was wheat.
3 million refugees registered in the region
As of late August 2014, almost 3 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.