Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Syrian grain output strangled by drought

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Syria's worst drought in 40 years is strangling grain production, prompting authorities to seek aid from the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation, the official SANA news agency reported on Tuesday. Wheat production has fallen by 53 percent in 2008 and that of barley by 68 percent, with thousands of families affected, SANA said.

The FAO and other UN agencies have launched an appeal for 20 million dollars in aid, of which 9.3 million would be for farmers and ranchers. The FAO has already provided 500,000 dollars in emergency aid to farmers most stricken by the drought and offered two million dollars in food aid, the agency said.

Up to 59,000 small ranchers have lost their entire livestock and another 47,000 lost from 50 to 60 percent, a UN official said in Geneva at the beginning of October.

Satellite image of Syria with map lines added. NASA

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