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Syria’s Food Security: From Self-Sufficiency to Hunger as a Weapon

Abstract

The chapter succinctly reviews the history of agriculture in Syria from the late 1950s until the present day (end 2016). It is structured in three sections. The first section discusses the government’s historical aim of achieving self-sufficiency in food production starting in the late 1950s, showing that agrarian reform was later developed to serve the interests of the middle and large farmers. The second section briefly addresses the agrarian counter-reforms in 2000s and the impact of the drought in late 2000s. The third section presents how food has become a weapon since the war started in 2011. Looking at some of the besieged cities back in 2015 and 2016, it places the emphasis on survival and coping strategies.

Keywords

  • Agrarian Counter-reform
  • wheatWheat
  • productionProduction
  • pricePrice
  • barleyBarley

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-98458-2_11
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Notes

  1. 1.

    Bashar al-Asad became president of the Syrian Arab Republic in June 2000, after the death of his father, Hafez, who ruled from 1970 up until 2000.

  2. 2.

    ICARDA is a global research-for-development organization established with Rockefeller foundation support.

  3. 3.

    In Syria, farmers have used the unit donum for centuries. It corresponds to 0.1 hectares.

  4. 4.

    In this regard, an amendment to the land reform law was enforced in 1966 in order to protect recently irrigated lands from expropriation. This amendment was inspired by Ba’athist militants from Deir Ezzor, who were small and middle-sized landowners, anxious to oppose the cities’ middle classes (Petran 1972: 183). Their aim was to control a region which was 92 per cent rural and whose 96 per cent of its inhabitants were illiterate and to create favourable conditions for the implementation of the great Euphrates and Khabour Project, by keeping a solid middle class.

  5. 5.

    In 2001, the cost of a 270-metre depth well was €16,000 in the Raqqa governorate, an investment that only tribe sheikhs and big landowner could afford.

  6. 6.

    A total of 1.7 million hectares of wheat are cultivated every year, of which 45 per cent is irrigated, mainly in the Jazira (Pecad 2008).

  7. 7.

    http://all4syria.info/Archive/331598

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Ababsa, M. (2019). Syria’s Food Security: From Self-Sufficiency to Hunger as a Weapon. In: Matar, L., Kadri, A. (eds) Syria: From National Independence to Proxy War. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98458-2_11

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