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Once dry farm lands in the Syrian Arab Republic are productive again thanks to FAO’s rehabilitation of irrigation facilities

Once dry farm lands in the Syrian Arab Republic are productive again thanks to FAO’s rehabilitation of irrigation facilities

30/03/2020

“The dryness and unproductiveness of our lands made us feel poor. However, today we celebrate green lands after having enough water to plant. Marrat village can now supply Deir-ez-Zor City with a variety of vegetables and crops,” said Salem Al Freih, a member of the Water User Association, expressing the joy of more than 3 000 smallholder farmers in Deir-ez-Zor Governorate in the Syrian Arab Republic. Thanks to the work of FAO and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), rehabilitation work on damaged irrigation facilities has been carried out.

Over the years, Deir-ez-Zor Governorate, which is situated alongside the Euphrates River in the Syrian Arab Republic, has been one of the most productive agricultural areas in the country. Unfortunately, farmers there suffer from harsh drought conditions, which limit their agricultural activities since they have been unable to access water for irrigation due to damage to the irrigation facilities that occurred during the crisis in the country. This situation prevented farmers from growing fresh vegetables and staple crop, such as wheat, for more than eight years.

FAO leads irrigation facilities rehabilitation works across Deir-ez-Zor

The Organization, with the support of DFID, has executed integrated rehabilitation work on strategically located pumping stations to guarantee irrigation to more than 6 000 ha of land in six villages on the Euphrates River. The rehabilitation work included light reconstruction work on 15 pumping stations, installing pumping equipment, and installing 1 100 meters of pipeline.

FAO’s vision to restore irrigation systems in the country based on validated assessments of damage and needs has been achieved through this project. A team of experts on water and irrigation management planned and designed the work that improved access to water for farmers and promoted efficient use of this vital resource.

Moreover, as the world celebrates World Water Day on 20 March every year, FAO ensures, in action, its contribution towards the Syrian Arab Republic achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6: “By 2030, to substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity”.

“When farmers have sustainable access to water and inputs, accompanied with technical support from experts, they will contribute in the increase of crops and food production rates in the country, which leads to improved food security and nutrition for the people,” said Mike Robson, FAO Representative in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Marrat Village supplys Deir-ez-Zor City with fresh vegetables

One of the local farmers in Marrat Village, 50 km west of Deir-ez-Zor City, said enthusiastically, “Finally, we produced carrots and lettuce; they taste very sweet because we have irrigated our plants with fresh water from Euphrates River. Can you imagine that we could not produce our own vegetables for more than eight years?”

Salem Al-Frieh, a local farmer and a member of the Water Users Association of Al Marrat village, estimated that more than 300 local farmers have been able to sell their vegetables and crops to the surrounding markets, and to Deir-ez-Zor City, improving their livelihoods and income. “We are grateful for operating the pumping stations again; the availability of water have encouraged several farmers to return to the village to resume planting and herding, Marrat village is now green and alive,” said Salem.

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