There will be no sustainable peace without food security, which means not only having enough to eat today, but know that you can produce tomorrow. The brutal and protracted conflict in Syria has been a huge human cost, and the wave of refugees is the ultimate expression of their disturbing effects on the region and beyond the region. While we all hope for peace, it is essential to allow those who remain in the country to maintain basic living conditions on earth where wheat was planted for the first time. In a bleak context of decimated cities, in which more than 13.5 million people are already vulnerable or displaced status, and more than 4.4 million refugees, we can not forget the Syrian farmers.
Agriculture employed up to half the population, and remains one of the main drivers of the economy. Those who have been to till the land remain the backbone of food supply in Syria. Without their work, the food security crisis in Syria not only go from bad to worse in the short term but serious damage will occur to the resilience of the country's long-term potential to regain its position as a country of means self-sufficient revenue can export wheat.
If we do not support the Syrians now farmers will not give them another option to abandon their land, move to the cities and, ultimately, migrate to other countries. No peace without food security and no food security without peace. There will be no sustainable peace without food security, which means not only having enough to eat today, but know that you can produce sustainably morning. Wheat production is estimated at 2.4 million tons in the last marketing season, it is 40% lower than before the crisis. Why agriculture can not be a matter for governments are meeting this week in London at the Donors' Conference for Syria , convened by the governments of Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Kingdom, together with the United Nations.
Currently, rising food prices as exemplified in wheat flour, local staple in some markets, whose price has triplicado- stifles household budgets, which have already been hit by the military operations that kill homes, resulting in injury and alter the chain of activities that enables food production.
So, Syria has lost half of their herds. While FAO has been able to treat about nine million animals, the risk of livestock that has survived and is not vaccinated conducive to the spread of disease beyond the borders, it is real. Wheat production is estimated at 2.4 million tons in the last marketing season, it is 40% lower than before the crisis despite the weather and growing conditions have been favorable. Simply, farmers and herders do not have adequate access to tools to perform their job. It is difficult to buy seeds and fertilizers, equipment and infrastructure are damaged, labor is scarce, the availability of poor animal feed and veterinary services have collapsed or premises under enormous pressure.
In 2015, FAO strengthened its presence in Syria and last year helped 1.5 million people in 13 of the 14 regions supporting the production of cereals and vegetables, seed distribution, and conservation and protection of the remaining livestock. Nevertheless, agricultural emergency interventions in Syria suffered a funding gap of over 70%. You can do more and we must do much more.
Agriculture is also a key channel in the creation of economic opportunities and jobs. 200 US dollars a farmer or farmer Syrian -there take into account rural women now account for 63 percent of the workforce agricultural-can produce two tons of wheat, which provide valuable income and enough food for a family of six members for a year. Also, something as simple makes them protagonists of efforts to overcome the crisis.
By contrast, the cost of importing a tonne of wheat is much higher, and we know that the deactivation of livelihood leads to dependence and pushes the search for a better life elsewhere, as they have already 50 families Syrian every hour of every day for the past five years.
Agriculture is also a key channel in the creation of economic opportunities and jobs, a priority for the new UN appeal for Syria. The UN-led efforts have helped to mitigate the short-term pain for much of the aid recipients on arrival. Now we must continue to expand its scope to enhance the sustainability of food producers from Syria. The FAO appeal is only a small part of the funds necessary for the wider humanitarian crisis in Syria. Donors must think like farmers: we must plant to harvest.