Food Security in NES

Food Security in NES

Shar Development 07-06-2022 17:53 12

Food Security in NES


Shar for Development

Implementation Year 2021




Climate Change has become a global issue, all countries are suffering from its implications on the environment and economy that have created social and political complexities. Yet, it is evident that this phenomenon had catalytic effects on the Fertile Crescent. Syria, as a part of the Fertile Crescent, is experiencing a severe drought that has exacerbated water and agricultural insecurity and caused massive agricultural failures and livestock mortality, adding to the account the poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies. All that has critically contributed to the aggravation of the political unrest in the country that had led eventually to the protracted crisis Syria is facing now which has complexified the already existing socioeconomic difficulties and exacerbated the food insecurity and livelihood needs of the citizens.

The Situation in North and East Syria:

North and East Syria (NES) has historically been the breadbasket of the country. However, low rainfall and cross-border river flows from Turkey have resulted in dramatic reductions in available water downstream in the Euphrates River basin, including the Khabour River water flow affecting the water available for both rainfed and irrigated staple crop production during the winter season and the ongoing summer cropping season, as well as the livestock production cycle. The water crisis also overlaps with an ongoing economic crisis linked to the consequences of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on the region, the Turkish occupation of North Syria, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing conflict dynamics, which have dramatically affected the cost and availability of agricultural inputs. Agricultural production in NES is a vital source of both food products and livelihood in NES, and a key supplier of wheat for all of Syria and the Levant region.

Moreover, agricultural policies issued by the Economy and Agriculture Commission (EAC) of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) are not coherent and don’t respond to nor protect public interests, therefore, they need critical revision and improvements to be able to efficiently process and pass this supercritical juncture.


The Reality of Key Agrarian Productions in NES:

Since the onset of the conflict in Syria in 2011, the agriculture sector is declining dramatically. As per the most recent research published by Shar for Development, a severe decrease in cultivated areas has been recorded.

The cultivated area with wheat in NES reached 1,000050 dunums. It is out of production at an average rate of 80%, wherein the planted lands with wheat as rainfed agriculture were estimated at about 750,000 dunums. As for the irrigated lands, the productivity did not exceed 400,000 tons, with a production rate of 200 to 250 kg per dunum. The cultivated area with wheat in NES reached 1,000050 dunums. It is out of production at an average rate of 80%, wherein the planted lands with wheat as rainfed agriculture were estimated at about 750,000 dunums. As for the irrigated lands, the productivity did not exceed 400,000 tons, with a production rate of 200 to 250 kg per dunum.

For the legumes, the majority of farmers in the region are giving less attention to legume crops and rely on farming wheat or leaving the field without planting any crops. Based on some local sources, the areas that were planted with lentil crops in NES were approximately 370,000 dunums with no figures related to productivity in the 2020/2021 season.

In the case of cotton, many farmers in Al-Hasakeh province did not plant cotton in 2020 and 2021 due to the high cost of extracting water from wells and pests that infested the crop in 2019, causing significant financial loss. Per respondents, approximately 55,000 dunums of cotton were cultivated in 2021. Ar Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, planting cotton were delayed up to May and the beginning of June 2021 due to several concerns, such as the low Euphrates River due to Turkish seizures of the river after a poor winter, and this led to frequent stops at irrigation stations in Ar Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in 2020 and 2021, along with the high cost of fuel and frequent maintenance of pumping stations. However, respondents indicated that approximately 8,000–10,000 dunums were planted with cotton in Deir ez-Zor and Ar Raqqa and the productivity did not exceed 250 KG per dunum in 2021.

Moreover, although farmers have begun to invest more in vegetables and fruits due to the dramatic increase in their prices at the market, however, high transport costs and low consumer purchasing power led to bottlenecks in the marketing of vegetables and fruits which can result in wastage, especially at the peak harvest time. Also, because of the unavailability of cold stores, most of the unsold products in wholesale are used as fodder for livestock.

Furthermore, although livestock breeding is a critical part of the region's farming system and a significant source of revenue for most households in the region, however, livestock breeders have resorted to negative coping mechanisms that threaten the sustainability of livestock breeding in the region. These mechanisms vary from selling a portion of the livestock to purchase fodder for the remaining to providing a minimal amount of fodder that keeps the livestock alive. In 2021, the price per tonne of barley increased to between 550 and 650 dollars, from a previous range of 80 to 110 dollars.


How Did We Respond, in Shar for Development?

Shar for Development believes that, under the current circumstances, to efficiently process and pass this supercritical juncture combined efforts are required. This includes the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) institutions, as well as other acting groups and individuals such as INGOs, local CSOs, media agencies, and experts with the support of international firms and institutions.

Moreover, we try to promote the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region, find proper pathways and approaches, and advocate for policy improvement, while responding to the public needs with supportive interventions.

In the implementation year 2021, Shar for Development has implemented several projects that assist the target communities to cope with problems they encounter.

Moreover, Shar for Development served different communities with supportive agricultural and livelihoods projects providing through it assistance for the targeted community members.

For more inclusive response that provides equal opportunities and secure fair participation, Shar for Development developed comprehensive eligibility criterion and scoring systems focusing on the most in need and vulnerable people.




Shar for Development Projects in 2021:

  • Support the Productivity of Wheat Cultivation:

The project aimed to support 659 households (42 of which were female-headed) to cultivate a combined total of 16,005 dunums of wheat in Jazaret Elbuhmeid, Jazaret Milaj, Sawa, and Shate in Deir ez-Zor.

The activity provided farmers with the following:



Balanced fertilizer

For each one dunam

 2 kg

High nitrogen fertilizer

For each one dunam

100 g

Spray Herbicide

For each one dunam

100 ml

Spray Amino acids

For each one dunam

100 ml

Moreover, the project provided daily on-site consultation from a team of agricultural engineers who also trained the farmers on effective wheat cultivation methods, explained the common pests that may affect the crops, and the importance of crop rotation to ensure soil longevity.


  • Promote Productivity of Livestock:

The project supported livestock productivity to enhance food security by improving dairy products, protecting farmlands, and enhancing income generation. Through this project, Shar for Development could target 166 commercial livestock breeders in Hamar Al-Ali and Sawa in Deir ez-Zor by applying a comprehensive package to ensure sustainable resources for livestock owners through a four-stage approach.


The project could provide veterinary care to including pox vaccines along with the provision of anthelmintic syrup, and ivermectin injection. Also, fodder consisting of barley, hay, and bran as well as other supplements.


Moreover, Shar for Development provided intensive on-site consultations covering topics related to diseases that infect livestock, how it reduces production, and how to protect livestock annually.


Moreover, Shar for Development provided the livestock breeders with basic dairy production inputs including plastic buckets with the capacity of 1.5 kg, plastic buckets with the capacity of 20 kg, boots, overalls, single wheeled trolley, shovel, and handheld 16 litre sprayer. Also, assisted them in cultivating 300 dunums with Alfalfa through provision of seeds, essential fertilizers, and tilling services.


  • Improving Food Security and Livelihoods in North and East Syria (ZEVÎ 5):

The project aimed to improve livelihoods and achieve food security for vulnerable households in NES. To achieve livelihood and food security stability and provide a nutritious intake of food for the vulnerable households, Shar for Development has designed a multisectoral project that aims to provide humanitarian assistance and early recovery initiatives, which supported the households paving the path to resilience.

  • Activity#1 Agriculture (Wheat support):

The activity was designed to support the most vulnerable farmers who are qualified and eligible to cultivate wheat and do not have the capacity and provide them with in-kind support -agriculture inputs- enough to plant 20 donums with wheat.

Shar for Development provided support to 402 small scale wheat producers from 68 different villages in NES with a priority for female and children headed households; the support package will consist of wheat seeds and fertilizers enough for the cultivation of 20 dunums along with agriculture extension services and capacity building training on modern farming techniques, water management, pest control and use of smart climate technology (i.e., organic fertilizer production) to improve land productivity and the yield.


  • Activity #2 livestock support (Barley Hydroponic):

In this activity, Shar for Development provided 116 households (small livestock breeders) from 10 different villages with the barely hydroponic support package (materials and tools needed for barely hydroponic) to increase their cuttle productions (milk and meat) to be used for the household consumption and/or selling to increase the household income and contribute to improve the household food security and meet the basic household needs.

Furthermore, Shar for Development trained the activity’s beneficiaries on Livestock Farming Best Practices, Rearing Techniques, and Hydroponic Technology to produce livestock fodder, organic fertilizer production.


  • Activity#3 (Cash for Work):

In coordination with community leaders and local councils (where appropriate) Shar for Development provided temporary income opportunities to 108 vulnerable men and women through Cash-for-Work

The work included small-scale repair of irrigation channels, livestock sheds, small-scale economic and public infrastructure that will support strengthening and complement the project's livestock and agricultural support activities.

As well as, where possible, for clean-up campaigns, garbage collection and disposal, rubble removal to improve the local environment. 

The CfW daily workers worked for 5 hours per day for 44 days and received 5 $ as daily wage.


  • Activity#4 Disaster Preparedness Training

Shar for Development provide support to train and equip 200 community members for disaster preparedness to lead a quick and effective response in emergency cases based on an in-place contingency plan.



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