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Crops fail in Syria

Drought has caused huge shortages of food and livestock feed (© FAO)
Drought has caused huge shortages of food and livestock feed

Farmers in Syria have suffered massive crop failure following the worst drought in 40 years. Around 150,000 farmers in the Middle Eastern country have completely lost their harvests and have been left with little or no planting material for next season. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has launched a rescue package worth US$20 million to help drought-affected citizens.

This year's wheat harvest is down 40 per cent on 2007, forcing the Syrian government to end 15 years of self-sufficiency and begin importing the staple grain. Up to 90 per cent of barley crops also failed, spelling disaster for livestock keepers who use barley in animal feed. Nearly 60,000 herders have lost their herds and FAO is to supply feed to some 10,000 herders in the worst-affected eastern state of Badia. The UN hopes to distribute 9,000 tonnes of improved wheat and barley seed to 30,000 farming households in time for the planting season.

Date published: November 2008


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