Drought and high prices threaten agricultural crops in Gozarto Region of North and East Syria

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — As the harvest of agricultural crops approaches in North and East Syria, particularly in Gozarto (Jazira) Region, renowned for its vast fields of wheat and other cereals, SuroyoTV conducted a series of interviews with farmers.

April is known to be one of the most important months for farmers in Gozarto Region. During nearly a decade of war, however, farmers have suffered multiple problems and obstacles which have prevented them seeing much in the way of financial returns. The scarcity of rain in recent years has had a devastating effect on already burdened farmers. Making things worse, the Islamic State and Turkish-backed Syrian Nation Army (SNA) intentionally start fires in the dry conditions. Turkey has also drastically reduced the flow of the Euphrates River and has intentionally cut off water from the region’s most important pumping station.

This year has been no different than previous years, according to some farmers. The region had not experienced sufficient rainfall, said many, indicating that the lack of rain will lead to dry and destroyed crops. Some farmers, particularly those south of Zalin (Qamishli), said they had no choice but to turn their crop into livestock feed due to their poor quality.

The high cost of living and the rise in prices in general, which in turn led to a rise in the price of seeds, equipment, and agricultural supplies, have increased the material losses of farmers who are forced to cultivate their land each year in the hope of compensating for the losses of previous years.

The situation, said most, is not sustainable in the long-term.