Syrian Farmer’s Heartbreak: Abandoning Agriculture After Years of War, Drought, and Economic Crisis

Syrian farmer, agriculture news

Syrian Farmers abandoning agriculture due to high expense and low yield, searching for other jobs.

The agriculture sector and the families who depend on it are suffering severely as a result of the effects of climate change and rising costs.

Omar Abdel-Fattah resident of Raqa province, northeast Syria was a farmer who grew wheat, cotton, and vegetables in Jaabar al-Saghir for three decades. Now the situation forced Omar to rent out farmland due to years of war, drought, and economic crisis.

He was unable to keep up with the rising costs of farming, including irrigation. He was unable to feed his family on the basis of farming. He has eight children in total. He needed a more stable job to provide for his family and educate his eight children.

Agriculture was once the pillar of northeast Syria. Before 2011, Syria’s economy was the nation’s breadbasket, before the government suppressed nonviolent protests, leading to the subsequent violence. The conflict impacts in resulting the death of over 500,000 people and millions of people migrated. These days, the effects of climate change—in particular, the drought and rising temperatures—combined with cost increases are severely harming agricultural productivity and the communities who depend on it.

Omar Abdel-Fattah’s relatives have also rented out their land in addition to him. Some individuals have left Syria due to the severe financial situation in the country. He urges Kurdish administration and international agricultural organizations to provide “support and loans” for farmers in the area so that they can continue farming. He proposed a solution that providing support and loans and encouraging farmers to return on field is the only solution to save agriculture sector in Syria. The current state in Raqa province feature empty farmland alongside cultivated fields where farmers and workers harvest crops, including potatoes and corn.

Jassem-al-Rashed from Qahtaniyah town stated agriculture had been the one and only source of income for 30 years. In today’s condition of Syria agriculture has tranformed into a “loss”. His children used to help him in farming, now he manages alone. Recent years of drought in Qahtaniyah town made the farming unsuitable for the people of town.


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