Syria's fertile Houran was once so productive it was called the "granary of Rome.” Today, farmers in southern Syria battle climate change and the economic fallout of war to make a living and preserve this traditional agriculture.
Seeds of Syria: How a birthplace of agriculture lost troves of its native crops, and why we should all worry
Home to the wild ancestors of our most important crops, Syria once hosted one of the world’s biggest seed banks and grew several native varieties of wheat. But this collapsed during the war, and Syrians are now struggling to find good-quality seeds. How did the country lose its seed treasure, and with it, a wealth of genetic resources for humanity?
Wheat farmers in northwestern Syria reaped a “good” harvest this year, but not enough to fully sustain the 4 million people living in the area.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is already disrupting global supply chains of staple goods, notably cereals and cooking oils. This is likely to impact food security in Syria, which already suffers from shortages and skyrocketing inflation.
The latest regime strikes on northwest Syria have claimed lives and disrupted the harvest, pushing farmers underground to escape indiscriminate bombings and the illegal targeting of agricultural areas.
The wheat harvest is starting in northeast Syria amidst a regional drought. Local farmers expect very poor yields, which will have dire consequences as nearly 60% of Syrians are already food insecure.