A farmer works at a wheat field in Ras al-Ain province, Syria, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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Syria's war has destroyed agricultural infrastructure and fractured the state system that provides farmers with seeds and buys their crops, deepening a humanitarian crisis in a country struggling to produce enough grain to feed its people.It has had a major impact on plantings; the area of land sown with wheat and barley for the 2015-2016 season stood at 2.16 million hectares, down from 2.38 million hectares the previous season and 3.125 million in 2010 before the war, and only around two-thirds of the area targeted by the government, the FAO said.Before the conflict, by contrast, Syria could produce 4 million tons of wheat in a good year, with around 2.5 million tons going to the state and the surplus exported.Faisal Hejji, a farmer in Ras al-Ain in Hassakeh, said he had devoted 200 dunums (20 hectares) of land to wheat this season, down from 300 dunums before the conflict.Syrian farmers benefited from the best rainfall in a decade last year and harvested around 2.4 million tons of wheat, significantly better than the drought-stricken year before but still around 40 percent lower than the prewar average.
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