Due to climate change, droughts and forest fires are becoming more common around the world, and Syria is experiencing particularly hot and dry years.
This year, Musa Fatimi was forced to sell his meager crop of wheat to livestock farmers for a small profit due to the drought in northeastern Syria, a war-torn country 60% of which is already difficult to feed.
“For the second year in a row, we are facing a drought,” explained the 85-year-old farmer from his field, which is located in an area that was once considered Syria’s granary.
“This year’s harvest is not even enough for our bread. “Our losses translate into millions.”
Due to climate change, droughts and forest fires are becoming more common around the world, and Syria – where it has been raging for more than a decade – is experiencing particularly hot and dry years.
The northeastern part of the country, which was once very fertile, is particularly hard hit.
Temperatures in northeastern Syria have now risen one degree Celsius from 100 years ago and rainfall has fallen by 18 millimeters a month, according to a report by the non-governmental organization iMMAP published in April.
Temperatures are expected to rise by at least two degrees Celsius by 2050, while rainfall is expected to fall by 11% over the next three decades, the NGO said in a report on the effects of climate change on grain production in northeastern Syria.
Another farmer in the area, Salman Mohammad Barco, has turned his fields into pastures, but the money he earns from this activity is not enough to cover even the cost of sowing.
The semi-autonomous Kurdish government, which controls the area, helped irrigate crops and provided farmers with seeds and subsidized fuel, explained Leila Mohamed, a local agriculture official.
“Climatic conditions affect the production and quality” of cereals, he explained, adding that the decline in production was also due to the departure of farmers from the country during the war.
In addition to water shortages, the situation is being exacerbated by pro-Turkish groups building dams blocking the waters of the Hambur River, which originates in Turkey and crosses much of northeastern Syria, passing through the Kurdish-controlled province of Hasakeh. PAX.
According to Musa Mohammed, a 55-year-old farmer, the Kurdish government is doing very little. Authorities buy wheat from farmers for 2,200 Syrian pounds a kilo (about 40 euro cents).
“This price does not cover our expenses, it should be set at at least 3,000 pounds,” he noted.
Wheat production in Syria before the outbreak of war in 2011 averaged 4.1 million tonnes per year.
This amount was enough to meet local demand, but the country has since been forced to turn to imports, mainly from Russia.
Problems with grain exports following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions on Moscow have raised concerns about famine in Syria, where 60 percent of the population now suffers from food insecurity.