Monday, January 26, 2009

2008 Syria round-up

"But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Syria in 2008, as drought hit the agriculture sector hard. As of mid-August, towards the end of the main harvesting season, just 962,000 tons of wheat had been brought in, well under half of Syria’s domestic consumption requirements. The drought also hurt one of Syria’s main revenue earning crop, cotton. This year, just 180,000 hectares were planted, down from the 220,000 of 2007, as the state encouraged farmers to shift to wheat production.

Shortages of grain, which pushed up meat prices due to a lack of stock feed, combined with government cuts in some subsidies, contributed to rising inflation. According to official statistics, inflation was running at 5.5% at the beginning of 2008, whilst recent estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) put inflation at 8%. The true figure is believed to be much higher, with the price of some commodities having risen by as much as 60% during the year. "

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