Homs Countryside: Drought and Siege Result in Dire Grain Season

Reduced production due to lack of rainfall and barricading of arable land by pro-regime forces, source explains to Iqtissad

Siege, drought and the drying up groundwater wells has impacted the winter grain crop in the northern Homs countryside. Some agricultural engineers expect a drop in grain production to about a quarter of last year's level.

Before 2011, the cities, towns and villages of the northern Homs countryside were one of the most fertile agricultural soils in Syria, producing about 30,000 tons of wheat a season.

Agricultural engineers and farmers in the besieged countryside told Iqtissad that they estimate the wheat crop to yield between 5-6,000 tons.

"This year, in terms of local wheat production, the maximum number for villages in the besieged countryside will not exceed 6,000 tons, or 5,000 tons, of wheat planted with rain," said an agricultural source in northern Homs.

He added that one of the main factors that led to the reduced production was the lack of rainfall in the wheat blossom season in March and April, and that about 40 percent of the arable land area was left out of service due to positioning of barricades by the regime and its militias. Farmers cannot access the land, the source said, adding that if they try to plant on it, they risk being killed by regime sniper or the regime will burn the crop.

The source pointed out that his organization, which financed the planting of 11,500 acres of wheat in collaboration with the Qatar Red Crescent, will find it very difficult to recover the loan from the farmers due to the poor agricultural season.

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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