4 Aug 2012

Harvest wrecked by crisis

6:30 am on 4 August 2012

Up to three million people in Syria are likely to need food, crop and livestock aid in the next 12 months as the conflict has prevented farmers harvesting crops, according to the World Food Programme and the Food & Agriculture Organisation.

Citing a joint assessment carried out by the United Nations and the Syrian government, the two agencies said on Thursday that the agricultural sector had lost around $US1.8 billion this year. Wheat and barley were badly affected.

The report said harvesting of wheat had been delayed in Deraa, rural Damascus, Homs and Hama due to lack of labour and reluctance of owners to rent farm machinery due to insecurity.

"There is thus a great risk of losing part of the crop if there is further delay," it said.