The ongoing conflict in Syria has led to a major decrease in production of fruit and vegetables, according to the UN food and agriculture organisation (FAO), in some areas by as much as a half.
The governorate of Homs has reportedly experienced a fall in vegetable production of some 60 per cent.
Out of around 10m Syrians living in rural areas, or approximately 46 per cent of the population, 80 per cent rely on agriculture for their livelihood, the FAO revealed.
According to Dominique Burgeon, director of FAO’s emergency and rehabilitation division, farmers were suffering from a lack of access to agricultural inputs, including quality seeds and fertilisers, and a lack of irrigation due to damage to canals and shortages of fuel for irrigation pumps.
"It is clear from discussions with NGOs and technical officers of the ministry of agriculture and agrarian reform, that security conditions permitting, agriculture has a huge role to play in helping people to stay on their land and generate income to cope with their most urgent needs," he said.
"They however need urgent agricultural support in terms of seeds, fertilisers, animal feed, veterinary drugs, poultry and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure," he added.