Saturday, September 25, 2010

Syrian wheat rust, but self sufficiency persists

"DAMASCUS, 19 August 2010 (IRIN) - Farmers in Syria already hit by a three-year drought are now experiencing a yellow wheat rust outbreak, which has caused widespread crop losses as well as shrivelled seeds.

“Farms have suffered varying degrees of yield losses; for some it has had a tremendous effect on their livelihoods,” said Wafa El Khoury, an agricultural officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and coordinator of FAO's global wheat rust programme.

In June, the US Department of Agriculture said the Syrian government had reported that due to the impact of yellow rust, 2010-2011 wheat production could fall to 3.3 million tons, an 18 percent reduction from last year and 35 percent below record levels.

“In badly affected wheat fields, yield losses of 35-50 percent can occur, while in the worst instances nearly total crop loss is possible,” the report said.

Total wheat production in 2009-2010 was 3.2 million tons, according to government figures – enough for the planned annual strategic grain reserves but less than the 4-5 million tons predicted.

Annual wheat demand in Syria averages 3.6 million tons, but the government says the current yield might suffice."

No comments: