The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched a two-year project, thanks to a USD 3 million contribution from the Russian people, to protect agricultural livelihoods disrupted by conflict in Aleppo Governorate by improving the production capacity of 60 000 crisis-affected farmers and herders. Working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform and the Ministry of Water Resources, FAO will contribute to boosting the local economy, reducing local poverty and improving families’ nutrition.
During the inception workshop held in Aleppo city, FAO outlined its efforts to increase farmers’ production of seasonal vegetables, support them with better access to water and enhance their livestock productivity through better veterinary services. “The implementation of this initiative reflects Russia’s commitment to assist a rapid post-conflict reconstruction of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as our readiness to provide necessary humanitarian assistance to all Syrians,” said H.E. Alexander Efimov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Syrian Arab Republic in his opening speech.
“The Russian Federation deems it is essential to provide humanitarian assistance to ease the suffering of millions of Syrians affected by the crisis. At the same time, we believe that such assistance should be accompanied by some structural measures that would allow Syrians to resume their agricultural activities at full scale,” he added.
The project will focus on reconstructing or establishing agricultural premises to restore production activities. Smallholder farmers will receive vegetable seedlings and fruit and forest saplings to plant 3 000 ha of land. This would mean that 20 000 farmers will be able to increase their capacity for vegetable, crop, fruit and forest production by managing three established nurseries.
The project will also seek to improve herders’ livestock production by rehabilitating the damaged animal health diagnosis laboratory in Aleppo Governorate. The laboratory will be equipped with modern equipment and tools to restore its full operational capacity in order to provide public veterinary services to more than 20 000 herders in Aleppo Governorate.
Meeting farmers’ calls for restored and sustainable access to water for irrigation is essential, which is why FAO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources, will rehabilitate and equip the Tal Al Hasel pumping station to reinstate its capacity. This activity will enable the irrigation of 10 000 ha of land, restore cultivation activities in 20 villages in southwest Aleppo along the Al Qweiq River Valley and preserve the livelihoods of around 20 000 farmers.
“Aleppo is one of the governorates most severely affected by conflict. Around 1 227 698 ha of arable land available for productive use is located within the Governorate. It is FAO’s priority to mitigate land abandonment by providing the necessary support wherever possible,” said Mike Robson, FAO Representative in the Syrian Arab Republic. “The improved security situation in Aleppo Governorate will allow us to implement the proposed recovery and resilience-building intervention so that returnees can resume their production activities, restore their livelihoods and strengthen their resilience,” he ended.
Source : Fao