During the 10-year armed conflict in Syria, the agricultural sector was faced with the loss and damage of crop production, livestock, infrastructure and agricultural assets, as well as severe interruptions to the global value chain. Institutional structures remained in place for the agricultural sector only in government-controlled areas. Those in opposition-held areas lost all support. Although some specific projects in the country have found success, international donors are struggling to find ways of using humanitarian aid to sustain agricultural capacity in the long run.
This is in part due to a knowledge gap, caused firstly by a loss of expertise following the migration of Syrian agricultural experts. Secondly, those that are left in the country are faced with another challenge, as they begin to familiarise themselves with the new market economy following the country’s transition from a state planned system. This transition requires farmers to understand the actors, forces and processes that form the global value chains. The start of the armed conflict, in 2011, has dramatically impacted farmers’ livelihoods and reshaped the power relations in the agri-food chains.
Hoping to address this problem, Agricultural Voices Syria is connecting Syrian experts with knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices and techniques with farmers and agricultural operators in northwest Syria through the creation of podcasts and other digital services. The podcasts have been recorded in Arabic, with English scripts available. They can be accessed on a smartphone through an application that was designed during the project.
The project was developed over 4 stages:
- The project began by organising the activities, selecting the team and purchasing equipment (January 2021).
- A training course was organized in the second stage, and the agricultural experts prepared 15 podcast episodes. At the same time, a smartphone app was designed, and the project was promoted on social media (February – April 2021).
- In the third stage, the podcasts and app were promoted among Syrian farmers. Over 1,000 responses were collected through a survey (May – June 2021).
- In the last stage, the survey data was analysed, and the research results have been disseminated to stakeholders and wider audiences (July 2021).
This website houses information about the project outcomes and outputs. Here, you can read the research being conducted during the project, as well as articles that are related to it.
At the end of this project, the research team accessed the SSRP Impact Fund to generate further impact consolidating AVS dissemination and broadening its scope. More information about this three-month extension is available on the webpage Impact.