This year's harvest is 1.8 million tonnes, up 12 per cent over last. Some 6.9 million people are food insecure, another 5.6 million are at risk without monthly aid. Deir-ez-Zor and Ar-Raqqa are the most at risk.
Damascus (AsiaNews) – Syria’s wheat harvest is around 1.8 million tonnes this year, up 12 per cent over last, a sign that the country’s situation is improving. However, this is still less than half than pre-war production, this according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), two United Nations agencies.
The FAO/WFP report estimates that 6.9 million Syrians are still food insecure, whilst an additional 5.6 million people are likely to become food insecure without the regular food assistance they receive every month.
The food situation in certain parts of the country remains heavily constrained, like in Deir-ez-Zor province, where life-saving air-drops of food and other supplies continue, and in Ar-Raqqa, the Islamic State’s stronghold.
"In Ar-Raqqa, shops are destroyed and the cost of the standard food basket has jumped by 42 percent between May and June this year," FAO said on its website.
Still, weather is a good reason for optimism. Better rainfall within the Euphrates River watershed has meant greater water flows and higher water levels in many of Syria’s reservoirs.
Wheat and barley production have also slightly improved over last year due to the better rainfall and improved access to agricultural land in some areas.
Pasture conditions have improved because of the better rainfall, which will partially ease pressure from high fodder prices. Herd sizes have also improved.
More recently, a government yeast plant was reopened after lying idle for years.
According to FAO, the price of a kilo of subsidised price of bread is currently 35 Syrian pounds (US$ 0,07).
At present, the Syrian population stands at about 19 million, down from 20.7 million in 2011. Had the war not broken out, it would have exceeded 23 million according to projections.
The war in Syria broke out in March 2011 as a protest movement against President Bashar al-Assad. So far, some 320,000 people have died and at least 11 million have been displaced at home and abroad.