Qatar Charity signs agreements with OCHA for wheat value chain in Syria
Qatar Charity (QC) signed two new cooperation agreements with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to support the wheat value chain in northern Syria, for the third year in a row, during the 2021-2022 season. The two-million-dollar agreements, which are expected to benefit 92,000 people, are part of the ‘Support Wheat Value Chain in North West Syria’ project that started in 2019 in partnership with OCHA. The project aims to contribute to improving food security and livelihoods in northern Syria where wheat is one of the most important crops, and contributes to enhancing food security, especially in light of a decade-long crisis.The project seeks to purchase 5,000 tons of wheat from farmers within Syria, and distribute 4.6 million bundles of bread for the benefit of more than 60,000 beneficiaries for a period of 10 months, in addition to restoring 12 silos (each with a storage capacity of 1,000 tons) to increase the storage capacity of locally produced wheat.The project also works on the rehabilitation of a bakery in Marea, a town in Syria, to produce bread, and on the establishment of a new bakery in Al-Rai,another town in Syria, with a production capacity of 5,000 loaves of bread per hour.Besides, the project works on producing more than 30 tons of locally improved high-quality and purity wheat seeds, and supporting wheat cultivation by providing high-quality agricultural inputs to 550 farmers to plant 550 hectares, in addition to providing technical support to carry out the best agricultural practices to increase wheat production.“The signing of the agreement confirms confidence in Qatar Charity’s capabilities to implement the project to the fullest, as it has successfully been implementing the project since 2019, said Engineer Zakaria al-Mutair, the food security and livelihoods official at Qatar Charity’s Turkey office.He also noted that the project, in its first year, started with supporting farmers, wheat marketing, and rehabilitating silos. In the second year, the project added wheat seed propagation to the list of its activities. Through the new agreement, the activity of rehabilitating bakeries was added.Al-Mutair emphasized that this project will play a major role in restoring and protecting agricultural livelihoods, self-reliance, continuing to support wheat farming, and encouraging farmers to return to wheat cultivation. It is noteworthy that the year 2020 saw new and complex social and economic difficulties that further exacerbate the food security and livelihood situation of families in northwest Syria, as the number of needy people facing food insecurity, in addition to those at risk of food insecurity, increased from 9.8 million to 14.2 million in Syria.