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FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform sign agreement to support farmers affected by forest fires in Lattakia

@FAOSY - Acting FAO representative in Syria with the Syrian minister of Agriculture and Agrarian reform

Damascus -24 May 2017: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (MAAR) to support vulnerable farmers who lost their fruit trees and main source of income due to the devastating forest fires that damaged large areas of farms and crops in Lattakia governorate in 2016.


A rapid assessment carried out by FAO revealed that farmers had lost over 50 percent of their production and were unable to resume farming. The fire damaged more than 250 000 olive and fruit trees and over 1 300 ha of land, which consequently affected 4 000 fruit producers.


FAO and MAAR will assist 2 700 farmers (more than 16 200 people) to restore their livelihoods for the next cropping season by providing quality winter vegetable seed packages and olive saplings, in addition to hand tools for vegetable farming, shredders and modern irrigation systems for better water management.


“Lattakia governorate is one of the key fruit and olive production areas in Syria, so getting farmers back to farming and staying on their land whenever possible is our key priority,” said Adam Yao, Acting FAO Representative in Syria. 


“The majority of crops destroyed were olive plantations; however olive trees will take 5-6 years to grow and become productive again, so it’s important that farmers are given alternative agricultural support.”


“By diversifying their agriculture through quick maturing vegetable crops - which takes approximately three months to grow  -  farmers will have access to much-needed income that will not only restore self-sufficiency but also build the resilience of communities to withstand future shocks and natural disasters,” Mr. Yao said.


Additional support will also be provided through a training programme on ‘Good Agricultural Practices’, pest disease management, compost management, intercropping and integrated forest fire management.


The project is expected to improve the food security of more than 16 000 people and contribute to the overall production of almost 8 300 tonnes of vegetables (within 2-5 months of planting date) with an estimated value of about USD 2.5 million.


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