Qatar Charity’s inclusive wheat project

Qatar Charity’s inclusive wheat project contributes to enhancing food security in northern Syria

4/4/2021 | Media Center

Qatar Charity’s inclusive wheat project contributes to enhancing food security in northern Syria

As wheat is among the strategic crops in Syria, which has been suffering from a decade-long crisis, Qatar Charity continues, for the second year in a row, to implement the “Support Wheat Value Chain in North West Syria” project to contribute to meeting wheat needs of people there.

The project, which is the first of its kind in northern Syria, extends comprehensive support, from providing agricultural inputs to offering bread to the local community. The silos of Marea, a town in Syria, are the first in the region to be fully rehabilitated and operated as they were before the crisis.

From Seed to Bread

“The project supports the wheat crop from seed to bread, and distributes it to beneficiaries in an area where there are large agricultural lands, in addition to turning an individual into a productive person,” said Engineer Zakaria al-Mutair, the food security and livelihoods official at Qatar Charity’s Turkey office.

Al-Mutair, who is also the technical supervisor of the “Support Wheat Value Chain in North West Syria” project, explains that this is a strategic project that emphasizes self-reliance, and strengthens the community’s ability to meet its basic needs. He noted that the project was designed to contribute to supporting wheat marketing and storage and providing wheat production inputs, in addition to flour production and bread distribution.

Mutair indicates that the priority of the project was to rehabilitate grain silos with a storage capacity of 12,000 tons of wheat, provide a new mill with a production capacity of 50 tons of flour per day, purchase more than 1,000 tons of wheat, distribute subsidized bread, support farmers with basic inputs to grow wheat, provide technical support to them through awareness sessions, rehabilitate the old building for the mill, construct a new warehouse for storing flour, and train mill and silo staff.

The project covered the needs of 200 families. The agricultural inputs for each beneficiary included 250 kg of wheat seeds, 250 kg of urea fertilizer, 200 kg of compound fertilizer, and 163 liters of diesel for supplementary irrigation in addition to pesticides and fertilizers. This contributed to the improvement of production. Qatar Charity also purchased the wheat crop at competitive prices to support the people of the region with bread.

Silos of Marea

According to Eng. Hisham Bakro, the supervisor of the silo restoration, the Marea silos consist of 12 cells with a capacity of 1000 tons per cell. The silos were restored by Qatar Charity within no more than three months within the framework of the project. The silo was out of service during the years of crisis, and a large part of it was damaged due to the security situation.

He pointed out that if the silo is used in its full capacity, it would provide Marea with the necessary wheat flour for the production of bread for approximately two years. The silo can also suffice the Marea, Akhtarin and Suran populated by more than 250,000 people for a period of more than six months.

The mill provides integrated services, from the sifting, cleaning, wetting, and fermenting to milling and packing. Its production capacity is 50 tons of flour per day, and can reach 60 tons daily. The Mare’s Subdistrict needs 16 tons of flour daily.

Bread Production

Qatar Charity has completed the “Support Wheat Value Chain in North West Syria” project by producing bread, which was a source of concern for the people of the region, especially for the displaced, due to its high price.

Engineer Osama Al Khalaf, project manager, says that bread is the most important food for Syrians and 1155 tons of bread were distributed to 23,000 beneficiaries in Marea within six months.

Financially Stable

The project has left an important impact on the lives of its beneficiaries, especially farmers and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Mr. Osama Rahmoun, a -37year-old farmer and breadwinner for a family of 7, says, “The farmland is part of my soul. Today, due to the Qatar Charity’s project, the soul has returned to the body, especially at the time of harvest, which has delighted many farmers.”

He added that he is now financially stable due to the income of the land along with his simple salary, and he no longer needs to borrow from anyone to meet his needs.

Mr. Khaled Al-Omar, 46, a displaced breadwinner for a family of 6, said that he was not able to buy bread before Qatar Charity’s project, which has made bread available at a very comfortable price.

Self-Sufficient in Wheat

Before 2011, Syria where the displaced are now facing a very challenging economic situation, was self-sufficient in wheat. However, after 2011, wheat production deteriorated dramatically, and in 2014 due to the protracted crisis and drought, the wheat harvest was the worst in decades, falling to less than 1.7 million tons.