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calendar   Thursday - July 31, 2008

Allah Is Angry! No bread for you!

Syrian Wheat Crop Halved By Drought



image

2007 was a bad drought year with a reduced harvest, but 2008 is twice as bad in Syria



Syria resorted to the international wheat market last week for the first time in 15 years to compensate for one of its smallest harvests on record.
A commodities official told newswire al-Reuters the harvest would fall to around two million tonnes this year compared with an earlier estimate of three million tonnes and 4.1 million tonnes last year. It would be even less than the 2.5 million tonnes produced in 1999.

As a result, the government’s cereal division has issued a tender to buy 120,000 tonnes of soft wheat of any origin.
...
Syria resorted to the international wheat market last week for the first time in 15 years to compensate for one of its smallest harvests on record.  Drought and unstable weather hit Syria’s harvests in the last two years, undermining the country’s role as a food and farm commodities player in the Middle East.

Syria touts food security as a major achievement and the agriculture minister told government newspapers that Syria’s strategic wheat stocks would last until 2010.  But the country’s new import needs underline the economic challenges faced by the Baathist government, which has been under sanctions from Washington since 2004 for supporting anti-US groups in the Middle East.

The sanctions, which were expanded this year, do not ban US agricultural exports to Syria.

They don’t? Why the hell not? Better fix that right now Georgie Boy.

The wheat harvest is in across Syria and the Middle East and the situation looks grim. The most recent Syrian estimates place the harvest at 2 million metric tons - less than half the 4.1 million ton harvest of 2007, and the 2007 harvest was almost 1 million tons below a peak harvest.

The culprit is a devastating drought that has left soil dry and dusty. The early stages of the drought affected the 2007 harvest and it has now intensified and decimated the 2008 Syrian harvest. The strength of the drought increases eastward towards the Iraqi border. Everywhere here precipitation has been less than 50 % of normal. Even weeds are sparse in dry empty fields.

The drought is also affecting pasture lands putting pressure on the Bedouin and their sheep. In Syria both shepherds and farmers face an uncertain future. Irrigation has helped in some cases, but less that 50% of fields are irrigated and irrigation water often disappears in the dry winds. In addition, groundwater and reservoir supplies are under pressure, some reservoirs are now mere puddles compared to their former capacity. Even the mighty Euphrates is not immune to the drought, discharge has decreased and pumps run incessantly drawing water from the river. Syria has promised to aid Iraqi farmers with releases of water, but by the time the flow reaches the border the salt content has doubled.

Syria with its growing and increasingly urbanized population has only months of emergency wheat stores left and for the first time in 15 years is resorting to purchases on the international market - a market that is becoming increasingly expensive.

Similar declining harvests due to drought in Turkey, Lebanon, Iran are driving those countries to purchases on the international market, In Syria and throughout the Middle East, an old enemy, drought, is again challenging an ancient and troubled region.

SYRIA: Wheat Production in 2008/09 Declines Owing to Season-Long Drought

Syria, like its neighbor Iraq, has been experiencing a serious drought during the past 8 months. Drought stress in 2008/09, which was exacerbated by abnormally hot spring temperatures, is expected to cause significant losses to the nation’s winter grain crops. Wheat production is expected to decline 38 percent compared to last year, to the lowest level in the past seventeen years. As the chart at the right illustrates, wheat is the single most important food grain grown in Syria, and this year’s projected shortfall could lead to a significant drawdown in domestic stocks unless the country increases imports or the government raises procurement prices high enough to capture a larger proportion of the domestic crop this year.

Extremely low rainfall conditions have affected much of Syria during the 2008/09 winter grain growing period, with drought conditions increasing in severity as the season progressed. Total rainfall accumulations averaged between 15-30 percent of normal for most of the primary wheat producing areas, with the exception of western coastal regions (minor producing areas) which received more beneficial winter rains. This amounts to an average of about 2 inches or less total rainfall during the 8 months between September 2007 and April 2008 in the major wheat producing provinces.

As in Iraq, there was little to no measurable rainfall this year in the planting period from October-December in the primary wheat producing regions of northeastern Syria (see charts below). The governorates of Al Hasakah, Ar Raqqah, and Aleppo, which together account for 73 percent of total national wheat area and 65 percent of total production, were particularly affected by extremely low rainfall and poor planting conditions.

image

The maps may look incomplete, but things only grow in the Northern and Eastern parts of Syria anyway




Syria should have a desalination plant about every 100 yards all along the Med. Instead, they spend their money to try and build nukes. Allah is pissed. No food for you.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/31/2008 at 08:40 PM   
Filed Under: • Middle-EastWar On Terror •  
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