Syrian livestock depleted by battle, failing economic system

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Feb 16, 2021

The battle in Syria didn’t spare any sector within the nation. The livestock market was instantly affected with losses exceeding 50% because the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011. This is because of the lack of fodder given the shortage of agricultural lands and their rising costs, lack of gas and energy outages. Meanwhile, agricultural services have been struggling to supply the warmth wanted for elevating animals.

This has been compounded by the shortage of presidency assist for animal farms, and a drop in imports from neighboring nations attributable to excessive costs and customs charges. In addition, a giant variety of cattle died both of hunger or after being deserted by their homeowners who had been displaced or pressured out of their houses. Some animals have perished within the recurrent bombings.

This has led to a pointy decline in Syria’s livestock; animal homeowners have been unable to promote them or smuggle them into neighboring nations. Consequently, the value of meat soared reaching as much as 22,000 Syrian kilos ($6.80 on the black market) per kilo (2.2 kilos) of lamb, which is much past the inhabitants’s buying energy.

Admon Qutaish, head of the pro-Syrian authorities Butchers Association, mentioned throughout a Feb. 5 speak present on Melody FM TV channel, “The livestock in Syria is endangered, with the ever-decreasing number of cattle and animals, which is mainly due to the rising prices of fodder, most of which is imported. These prices have increased in the country of origin, the exporter.”

Syrian Agricultural Minister Mohammad Hassan Qatana instructed Russia’s Sputnik Jan. 29 {that a} catastrophe is looming for the livestock market, and that agricultural services have misplaced between 40% and 50% of poultry, and 50% of cattle, which have both been smuggled throughout the border or perished.

Ahmad al-Omar, an animal breeder, instructed Al-Monitor, “It has been two years since the animal husbandry sector began deteriorating, which started with the depreciation of the local currency and the rise in fodder prices by 40%.”

Omar mentioned that 1 ton of soybeans stands at the moment at 1.6 million Syrian kilos ($493) and is anticipated to extend much more, whereas 1 ton of yellow corn prices some 800,000 kilos ($247), inflicting livestock keepers and breeders to desert this occupation altogether.

He famous, “[In addition] there is no electricity or any oil derivatives for heating farms, or their prices are extremely high, with 1 liter of diesel fuel costing about 1,000 pounds [$0.31] on the black market in the regime-controlled areas. The price of 1 kilo of charcoal is more than 550 pounds [$0.17].”

“The price of yellow corn jumped to 450 pounds [$0.14] [per kilo] and cotton seeds up to 400 pounds [$0.125] if they were available at all. This is mainly due to the lack of government support and reduction of subsidies to the poultry industry and livestock farms,” Omar added.

Agricultural engineer Zakaria Nofal instructed Al-Monitor, “Most animal breeders and cattle keepers in Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa and Hasakah abandoned this profession, and breeders in Idlib and Aleppo stopped working. This left only a few governmental and private facilities operating, which meets no more than 20% of the market needs, while 80% of farms and other facilities stopped production.”

He mentioned, “The poultry sector alone used to employ more than 1.2 million Syrians, but today it has come to a halt and Syria has been importing its products.”

Nofal noted, “One of the most important reasons that strained the livestock sector is the shrinking of pasture lands as a result of the expansion of battles over large areas. This is in addition to the increasing prices of diesel and the perishing of cattle whose owners were unable to provide fodder for, while other animals died of smallpox and mouth infections in the absence of the necessary vaccines.”

He added, “Importing from neighboring countries has also negatively affected Syria’s livestock and caused an increase in the price of meat. Imported lamb costs about $3.50 per kilo. The regime cronies have been also given leeway to impose additional fees on the meat prices to make more gains, without any censorship.”

The pro-regime Snack Syrian web site printed the figures of the Central Bureau of Statistics, evaluating livestock numbers previous to 2011 and in 2017, displaying that Syria had about 2.2 million sheep previous to 2011, in comparison with 186,000 in 2017; 222,481 goats in 2011 in comparison with 76,000 in 2017; and 108,000 cows in 2011 in comparison with 71,000 by the top of 2017. The variety of poultry farms previous to 2011 was about 12,000 institutions, whereas at the moment it stands at 1,200 and continues to lower.