Thursday, April 6, 2017

Syrian Agriculture Needs Help Now

We have all heard about the horrifying events taking place in Syria. Agriculture is, also, hurting in Syria. The linked article takes a look at a recent report put out on the struggles of agriculture in Syria and the need for action to improve it. We encourage you to read the linked article and then utilize the discussion points to spark conversations around the world! If you are looking for further information the full report and a video summary can be found at the right side of the linked article.

Syrian Farmers Call to Kick-Start Agriculture Now

Discussion Points

  • Why is it so important to give attention to agriculture in Syria sooner, rather than later?
  • Under the heading "Other main findings are:" in the article there are five findings listed. Of these five which stands out to you the most and why?
  • How has agriculture been impacted in Syria and to what extent?
  • What do you believe are the first steps to improving agriculture in Syria and why?

16 comments:

Unknown said...

About 60% of households have a lack of fertilizers.... Syria is still using chemical warfare, therefor their fertilizers and soil are going to be very poor. If the chemicals from the war were allowed to dissipate, the soil could begin to heal and crops could grow.

unknown said...

It is so important to give Syria attention towards its agriculture because if given later their agriculture sector will collapse. Individuals would be forced to migrate to a different area to seek food. The conflict in Syria has caused billion upon billions in disaster, and in order to help start fixing it we need to help. We need to help. In the article it stated "Around 95 percent of communities surveyed felt that if they were assisted with even basic agricultural support such as seeds, fertilizers and fuel to power irrigation pumps, it would reduce the number of people abandoning rural areas to find opportunities elsewhere, and also encourage the return of migrants and internally displaced people" showing that the basic needs to support agriculture could potentially save their industry. Syria is in need of helping hand to reach out and start rebuilding their industry back up again. ST Somonauk

Reagan Orzech said...

Prior to 2011, Syria was the world’s fifth largest olive exporter in the world, their oil fields produced about 330,000 barrels per day, and they became a regional exporter of wheat before a major drought in 2008-2009 forced the country to import large quantities of the staple crop. However, when the crisis broke out over six years ago due to security forces opening fire on peaceful pro-democratic protesters, it was the beginning of a civil war that is currently being fought by both soldiers who support the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, and multiple groups of rebel fighters who can’t agree on how the country should be run. With over a quarter of a million lives lost, five million fleeing to neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey or Iraq, and a $16 billion dollar loss of crop, livestock production, and farming assets, Syrian agriculture needs immediate focus as more people are becoming displaced within the country. However, this is easier said than done as it is estimated to cost $10.7 to $17.1 billion to restore the agriculture sector, their open warfare means strips of farmland are off limits, crops are unharvestable, and people cannot get past security checkpoints to get their produce to the cities as it is often too dangerous to leave home to go to the local market. On top of this, it is important to understand that farmers no longer have access to their lands as they have left their property with their machinery gone and no access to seeds, locals are feared of chemical warfare or being shot by soldiers and militias, food prices are skyrocketing, and farmers aren’t getting paid with people not getting fed. Personally speaking, I believe finding a solution is urgent as 8.7 million Syrian people are in need of food security assistance and are continuously leaving their land which is adding to the refugee list that is not only putting stress on refugee families but also in their host communities that struggle with the rush of new people, many of which they fear as they come from a high terrorist country. In order to start to improve this situation, we need to first realize we can still support agriculture during a conflict, need to drive our focus to the areas geographically that had heavy losses but are overly productive like Al-Hasakah and Aleppo, and initially help them get back on their feet with fertilizers, seeds, and restocking their livestock which will hopefully reduce the cost of humanitarian aid that is going into the country. -R.O, Somonauk

Opinion Question: Do you believe the U.S should allow more Syrian refugees into the country than what we do now?

unknown said...

As most of the world is unfortunately aware of, Syria has been having serious conflicts for a long time and is getting worse in recent weeks. It is so important that attention is given to their agriculture soon because they rely heavily on agriculture and that sector of the country is being destroyed. If more time is taken to wait instead of taking action people will completely lose their source of food and money which can make this hard time even worse. Also, waiting longer could make it so there is no food at all to search for and animals will be lost. In the section of other findings I found the statistic that less than half of the 2011 rural population still lives in rural area now to stand out. I would think that this is because the farm land and irrigation systems have been destroyed so these people have nothing to live off of, causing them to move to more urban areas. I find this fact to be one that is quite sad because not everything that is on the internet shows what is happening here. These people are losing their resources in war and most have no way to come back from it. I do think it could be possible to come back from disaster for the Syrian people. The first step could be finding safe land that could be used for farming. Restarting the agriculture sector has already been said to be very expensive and difficult, but I am wondering if it is possible that the US or other countries could help fix that. Things like growing projects would be very useful for this. For example, raising money to help buy things like seeds, medicine, and fertilizer could make an impact; sending these products could make even more of one. No matter the situation at hand, or the amount of people believed to "deserve" this, does not give an excuse to let the people of Syria suffer. Agriculture is a big part in most countries, could that make an impact on others? -E.D. Somonauk

M.E.T said...

I found many articles regarding the war on Syria, some of which were from 2012, but all of which addressed multiple other concerns on their agriculture sector, with one article stating, “they may never again be able to sustain a population of the size they held before 2011.” The war in Syria has damaged, and blown apart their fertile soil, making it baren. If they are unable to grow enough food to feed their families, and communities because their land is unsuitable for farming, there soon will be nothing left, giving the people of Syria no reason to stay. It seems to be addressed in every blog, but as we are all aware, in order to feed 9 billion people by 2050, we need to use all land available to us. In order to do that, places such as Syria need will need our help, whether it be with seeds, fertilizers or irrigation systems which will improve their crops and reinforce their agriculture sector. If we don’t give Syria this attention, they will migrant elsewhere, but countries can only sustain so many people. By helping alleviate the burden in Syria, is will reduce the need for humanitarian aid, and the Syrians will stay in their homeland. If we take our technology and our resources and implement that throughout the agriculture sector in Syria that will bring back more Syrians, rebuilding communities. We need to take advantage of their rural area by giving them GM seeds that can grow and thrive in that environment, while sustain families on a small scale. They need our help and we are able to do so because of our extensive research on crops and available monies. It is either send them help, or welcome them into our country which is already being overpopulated by other migrants.

M.P. said...

I believe it is important to address Syria's agriculture problems now rather than later because farming is how many families, especially in rural areas, get food and receive income to provide for their family. Under the heading "Other main findings here:" I am most surprised by the statement that says, "Since 2011, household livestock ownership has plummeted, down by 57 percent for cattle, 52 percent for sheep, 48 percent for goats and 47 percent for poultry." This is so shocking to me because livestock is important on farms because they can provide many things including, meat, milk, and eggs. They can also hep with farm work depending on how updated the technologies and farming practices are on those farms. Agriculture has been impacted in Syria by the loss of crops and livestock production and farming assets. I think the first step to improving the agriculture in Syria would have to start with the government and dealing with the ongoing war and the bombings.

McKenna said...

Recently, the news has been centered around Syria and the Syrian government. Syria’s government has been blamed for the chemical attacks that have killed dozens of women and children leaving them choking, gasping or foaming at the mouth after breathing in poison that possibly contained banned chemicals. President Trump and the white house have intervened, accusing Assad (their leader) of purposely bombing the people of the country. There has definitely been lots of controversy, especially threats from bigger countries like Russia and the United States. Syria is an underdeveloped economy with a middle-income economy based on agriculture, tourism, oil and industry. This means they are seeking to become more advanced socially and economically which is not helped by the $16 billion of lost crop and livestock production and destroyed farming assets caused by the attacks. It is very important to give attention to Syrian agriculture since it is the backbone of their country. The people there rely solely on agriculture for their food and income. If things get worse, Syria can fall into the underdeveloped category, being full of poverty and having even lower development. To improve Syrian agriculture it is going to take a lot of work. First off, the country has to become more stable and promote less controversy. If chemical bombs were stopped, the soil could begin to heal and crops could grow. However until then, we can help their economy through two big organizations. Feed My Starving Children and the Food Resource Bank are two amazing organizations who help provide food, services and money to people in underdeveloped and developing countries by getting their communities involved. At FMSC, you package food and ship them off to countries in need. With FRB, the have “growing projects” which help raise awareness to world hunger. The FRB also travels to poor countries and provides money from fundraisers and helping hands as they are there. You may not think you’re doing something big when helping these organizations, but you’re impacting and enhancing the lives of the poor significantly. -K.P. Somonauk

Chism said...

It is important to give Syria support in agriculture because right now their country is in the middle of a 6 year civil war. So if we don't help they will struggle even more than they are now. The main factor that stuck out to me was the one about how much of income that they spend on food. Is it because they don't have a lot of food so the prices go up? Or is it because they don't make enough of money at their jobs? It stands out because i just don't get why someone would spend so much on food. I believe the first steps into helping Syria is to try to reason with them and ask them what we can do for them. It might help them if we just let them figure what is going wrong then we could add things to improve their farming ways. Instead of just telling them to do it a certian way, because it might cause some conflict.

Unknown said...

After the passing of his father, current Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad took charge and things only went down hill from there. Thing especially fell apart in 2011 when a protest turned sour and lives started being taken. According to CNN there are four main fighting groups in this civil war and they are as follows: Kurdish forces, ISIS forces, the Assad regime, and other small groups. As of March 2017 it is estimated that approximately 5 millions Syrians have lost their life since the start of the conflict. This war is certainly taking the lives of many people, but it is also taking the lives of farms all across the country and just agriculture in general. Since the start of the war farmers have not had any availability to seeds, fertilizers, proper irrigation systems or access to water sources for their livestock. The urge to help and kickstart agriculture first within Syria, even with the conflict, is because it will alleviate many pressing problems. The obvious is that if their agriculture situation is improved farmers will be able to farm once again and provide food to the hundreds of thousands of people that are starving. Fixing the agriculture system in Syria will also help all the displaced people migrate efficiently and remain in rural areas instead of leaving them to find opportunities elsewhere. Rebooting the whole agriculture sector in Syria is obviously easier said than done; it has been estimated that it could cost anywhere from $10.7 billion to $17.1 billion depending on the status of the conflict. What makes this operation somewhat easy, is the fact that Syrians have laid out exactly what they feel that they would need in order to improve agriculture within their nation. Most rural homes said that if they had fertilizer, seeds and veterinary medicine for livestock they would feel a lot more confident in the agricultural practices. Now that all this is out on the table, what exactly is there for us (the United States) to do? I think the best path for America to take is to stay out of the actual war aspect of it, and really just focus on helping the people thrive and survive. America is one of the most agriculturally developed nations in the world, so why not offer our expertise and get them back on their feet? When the time is right and it is safe enough to do so, I think that soldiers should give the Syrian farmers exactly what they need so that the agriculture sector there can be revived and hopefully start to lessen some of the other issues.

J.P. Somonauk

AC said...

It is important to give Syria the attention now rather than later because most families survive off of their livestock and their crops. According to FAO, "In addition to the severe human suffering, the conflict has caused more than $16 billion of lost crop and livestock production and destroyed farming assets." This statistic is most heartbreaking to me because Syrian families are already struggling to survive the conflict, yet other people are destroying the crops the depend on in order to survive. I think the steps in improving Syrian agriculture is first ending the war that is destroying their crops. After the war is ended, developed counties could show Syrian farmers the improved way to farm. The Syrian farmers will hopefully take this new information into consideration which will be the start of improving their agriculture.

AC Somonauk

katiek said...

Agriculture is Syria is in serious danger and needs help. This help needs to come sooner rather then later because the problems are only going to continue to get worse and people are not going to be able to survive much longer. They will all be forced to migrate to a different area with more opportunities. Some of the other main findings I found very interesting was the fact that 95% of the people to said If they were given just basic farming suplise it would greatly help reduce the number of people leaving the rural areas. This really stands out to be because all the need is maybe a little push to get them back in there feet. Another fact that goes along with this that really stands out to me is that over half the people have moved out of the rural areas since 2011. This is alarming because now there are less people to farm and fix the agricultural problem. I think the first steps in fixing the agricultural problem in Syria is by just getting them the basic supplies they are lacking. In one of the other blogs we read it talked about how they really didn't want others help. However, maybe if just the supplies is given to them then they can work by themselves to fix the problem.
Kk: somonauk

G.C said...

In response to Stephanie Trost, I completely agree. If we do not help Syria now their Agriculture program can potentially eradicate. Not only is this important for the country itself, but also the countries around it and even ours. If Syria can not sustain itself then other countries will have to support and help take care of it. This means that the surrounding countries of Syria will also struggle while trying to help Syria. These countries themselves will also have to become more independent as they will have no trade with Syria but only supporting them. Along with feeding the nine billion, countries like Syria will be one of the big problems. This will be where there will be large populations as people will try to have a large amount of kids to help support their family. We need to help Syria build up their Agriculture abilities now before their population increases and they will not be able to sustain themselves or anyone around them.

R.S. said...

In Syria where many are already hurting, the war that takes place is currently destroying or has already destroyed what they thrive off of. It is so important to give our attention to syria because their lifeline is agriculture. It’s important to give them attention now because of the destruction that is already taking place and how much trouble they are already in. Over time what is already bad now is potentially going to get worse. The Syrian people are in immense amounts of trouble now with all their hard work put into their farming practices to get them through the day and to have even the smallest amounts of food for themselves and their family. With the war taking place now, their future of agriculture is not promised. Some first steps to improving their agriculture in Syria, first their government needs to resolve their civil war. With time refugees who have fled the country may come back to rebuild their country and to start all over with their agriculture. Although, this may sound very easy or simple it will not be. The question that will still be is, even though people want to help or to start over, because of the chemicals in the soil and the destruction brought to it, how long will the rebuilding of agriculture and the country take? -somonauk

Cassidy Johnson said...

Under the “other main findings” section of this article, the point I found most interesting was the fourth one. The fourth point stated, “The proportion of income spent on food has soared as incomes and household food production have decreased, while food prices have increased dramatically. Before the crisis about 25 percent of households would spend over half their annual income on food; by the time of the survey in September 2016, 90 percent of households were spending more than half of their annual income on food”. I thought this was the most interesting point because if the number of people who spend over half of their income on food does not significantly decrease soon on top of all the other problems their economy is going to crash, because they cannot afford to sustain themselves. The fourth bullet point addresses not only the issues of people being starving, but also shows how important it is to the economy when people have enough money to buy all the things they need. The Syrian agriculture has been greatly impacted by current conflict. Recent bombings and gassings have made it impossible to grow any crops in the land. The Syrians cannot afford to buy food, and they are not able to grow food on the land that they do have. It is so important to give attention to Syrian agriculture right now because the sooner the agricultural system is back on track the sooner a lesser amount of people will be fleeing the country in search of food, also we will be able to reduce the need for humanitarian aid in the country. I think the first step in restoring Syrian agriculture should be in either fixing the soil, or finding a way for the Syrians to begin to farm again. The sooner farming can begin the sooner some sort of normal life can begin to happen for the Syrians, because they will be slightly less worried about where their next meal will come from. -C.J. Somonauk

Vst Tillers said...

Please check VST Annual Report

pencesam said...

All agriculture in syria is starting to fail due to the war, and without a helping hand it may completely disappear as we know it. This could also cause starvation and rationization within the country as well. This country greatly relies on its agriculture to life off of and to profit from with trades and marketing. It's suffrage can take many lives or cause much malnutrition. The longer we wait to make a stand the harder it will be to reconstruct this country's agriculture. Also, even a helping hand could help these people take a breathe and worry less about their food amount and focus more on keeping each other our of harms way.

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