September 25, 2016

26/09/2016: Syria’s wheat crop drops to 27 year low

A combination of conflict and dry weather leads to poor wheat harvest in Syria.

According a recent article written on, Syria's wheat harvest nearly halved to 1.3 million tons this year, the lowest in 27 years, as fighting and poor rainfall further degraded the farming sector and the nation's ability to feed itself.

The government of President Bashar al-Assad was forced to tender this summer for an unprecedented 1.35 million tons of imported wheat from political ally Russia to ensure supply of the flat loaves that are a staple for the Syrian people.

Before the five-year-old civil war, Syria was a wheat exporter producing four million tons in a good year and able to export 1.5 million tons.

Image: Eusebius@commons

Now wheat and bread have become an integral part of the war, with wheat farms, seed distribution, milling and bakeries all affected.

The Damascus government subsidises bread for the areas it controls and aid agencies offer supported prices in some areas, but Syrians in other parts of the country suffer bread shortages and high prices.

"You know why most people carry weapons? Because of bread," said Mahmoud al Sheikh, a health worker from a besieged part of Damascus.

"Hunger makes people sell themselves to the armed groups so they can eat and bring food to their families." Al Sheikh, speaking to Reuters by telephone from the capital's Eastern Ghouta suburb, said earlier in the year his besieged area scarcely saw bread.

"Sometimes there's no bread at all. People start to make bread from barley ... It goes on like this for months. People eat cabbage instead - it's enough to test your faith. Really, people's situations become miserable," he said.

Read more HERE.

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