FAO in Syria

The rural development center in Deir Ez-Zor to improve women’s lives

FAO/Mazen Haffar

The rural development center (RDC) in Al Mayadeen – Deir Ez-Zor Governorate – is operating again after malfunction status for years by the conflict. Thanks to the support of Italy and the joint efforts by three UN agencies operating in the Syrian Arab Republic, UNDP, UNFPA and FAO, many affected people from rural areas will receive different types of assistance to improve their livelihood.

FAO’s holistic approach within the RDC is to involve farmers in integrated production activities to guarantee higher benefits for the farmers who lost their livelihoods from the armed conflict. These include building farmers’ capacity on modern production systems and good agriculture practices through a “learning by doing” approach to enable farmers to resume production under challenging conditions.

During the implementation of the project, farmers and rural families were fully involved in the agricultural production chains, to gain the needed knowledge, starting from seedling production, crop production, and harvest, up to producing processed food items and then promoting the products through the center’s marketing unit.

“The rural development center offers a great learning space for women to enrich their knowledge on good agriculture practices, climate-smart agriculture, and home-based food processing. By applying the gained knowledge, women will increase the production rates in their back yards, which will directly improve their nutritional diversity, and enable them to sell more quantities of vegetable or fruits and become self-reliant with the extra income they will earn.” said Osama Douba- FAO National Project Manager.

As part of its involvement to restore the role of the rural development center, FAO established five agricultural demonstration fields to demonstrate various aspects and practices - one of which is the irrigation system for promoting modern and efficient irrigation - and a vocational training center for three processing units to produce dairy, sesame, and vegetable/fruit (food processing, packaging, and marketing).  

This integrated range of activities at the RDC have allowed 100 women to receive seedling production kits (low tunnels, winter and summer vegetables seeds, accompanied with practical training program within the center), also 283 women have benefited from practical and technical training on good agricultural practices including vegetables production, services to fruit trees and intercropping concept, along with practicing modern irrigation techniques at the established demonstration fields within the center.  Finally, the Organization trained 50 women on food processing and marketing and provided women with the tools and equipment (grinder, butter churner, gas bottles and cook) to run small-scale agri-businesses.