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9.8 million Syrians suffering from food shortages

July 24, 2015 at 9:22 am

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme confirmed, on Thursday, that about 9.8 million Syrians are currently suffering from food insecurity, including 6.8 million who require urgent food aid.

The two organisations issued a statement saying that the conflict, which has been going on in Syria since 2011, has all but destroyed the country’s agricultural sector. FAO official in Rome, Dominique Bourgeon, said that “there is a need for urgent aid from donors so that farmers can cultivate grain harvest in October.”

Syria’s crop of wheat for the year 2015 is estimated at about 2.4 million tonnes, thanks to the rain, which is higher than that of 2014 but 40 per cent less than what it produced before the conflict.

Similarly, livestock has been negatively affected by the conflict, cattle populations decreasing by 30 per cent, sheep and goats by 40 per cent, and poultry by 50 per cent.

In contrast, food prices rose rapidly at the beginning of 2015 with the decline of government support and the devaluation of the Syrian currency. The price of bread has risen over the past year by up to 87 per cent in public bakeries.

According to the statement, families have been spending half of their income, or sometimes even more, on food in cities such as Sweida, Aleppo and Hama.