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Supporting the livelihoods of farmers and women's groups in northern Syria


07/03/2019 - 

In Syria, irrigated agriculture has been significantly affected by the protracted crisis. Ongoing conflict has resulted in extensive damage to irrigation facilities, including distribution canals and pumping stations. Moreover, high fuel prices and electricity outages have further affected farmers in all agro-ecological zones where irrigation is normally provided for agriculture purposes. Many farmers using diesel pumps had to either cut back on irrigation or revert to rain-fed production, where feasible and economically viable. Not surprisingly, the efficiency of the irrigation systems in Syria significantly decreased since the onset of the crisis.

With support from the Italian Development Cooperation, FAO helped strengthen the resilience and nutritional capacity of 1 500 crisis-affected households in Aleppo and Idleb governorates, by boosting crop production, food processing and market access for women’s associations, and improving irrigation and water resource management through the involvement of water user associations. To this end, 920 families received FAO standard summer vegetable kits and 580 received a combination of solar-powered irrigation systems and winter vegetable kits, aimed at ending families’ dependence on fuel or electricity to operate irrigation pumps. Moreover, up to 500 women-headed households received specific support to further engage in local income-generation activities, including food processing units for tomato and red pepper paste production as well as dairy, adding value to their agricultural and livestock products. Wherever possible, the project also minimized waste and losses along the value chain.

Capacity building on crop production, food processing and market access, as well as irrigation and water resource management, were provided to farmers along with field technical assistance through selected FAO implementing partners.

Under the 15-month initiative, FAO collaborated with local agricultural service centres, women and water users’ associations. Together, they increased and diversified farmers’ crop production, diets and income sources, ensuring the efficient use of soil and water resources. This enabled families to increase their resilience to protracted crises. 

Contribution: EUR 425 000 (USD 500 000)

Beneficiaries: 1 500 crisis-affected households

Location: Aleppo and Idleb governorates; Syria

Duration: 2017-2018

Results: 920 families received summer vegetable kits 580 families received solar-powered irrigation systems and winter vegetable kits 500 women-headed households received specific support to further engage in local income-generation activities

Photo: ©FAO/Omar Sanadiki