Conservation Agriculture | الزراعة الحافظة

Conservation agriculture is defined as the cultivation of crops without ploughing (zero tillage) using suitable seeders to cut through the soil and deposit seeds at an optimum depth to promote growth. In conservation agriculture, remnants of previous crops or green-cover crops are left, with the organic matter helping to preserve the soil, prevent erosion and degradation, and increase fertility and biodiversity.

This instructional video showcases conservation agriculture methods, highlighting its role in soil preservation and contribution to sustainable practices, which are of increasing importance in light of climate change and drought. An additional benefit is reduced production costs, in the face of rising fuel and agricultural input prices.

It draws on the experiences of agricultural engineers and farmers who have been implementing conservation agriculture for a few years, and explains how the system works and elements that need to be taken account of. In the video, farmers’ share their first-hand experience and its advantages such as:

  • reduced labour needs;
  • reduced time input;
  • reduced use of agricultural machinery;
  • reduced fuel consumption;
  • improved soil fertility and productivity in the longer term; and
  • conservation of soil moisture and water storage.

Safflower Cultivation | زراعة العصفر

The safflower is a herbal plant rich in nutrients whose flower is used as a spice in the preparation and manufacture of foods. Its oil, extracted from the seeds, is used medicinally to treat high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes, amongst other conditions. Safflower is more commonly known as ‘‘Cortom’’ reflecting its scientific name (Carthamus tinctorius L).

In recent years, the cultivation of safflower has increased in Syria, and  northern Syria in particular where it has been introduced by internally displaced farmers. They have brought with them their knowledge of cultivation and harvesting methods, including the collection and drying of safflower petals, and continue to cultivate safflower as a source of income for them and for their families.  Over 100 hectares are now dedicated to its cultivation in the North, including by farmers who are local to the region who have adopted it due to its low production costs, its low water needs allowing for rain-fed cultivation, and its high market value, all of which makes it an economically viable crop.

This instructional video captures and highlights farmers experiences of cultivating safflower, capturing and sharing valuable lessons including planting dates, related agricultural practices, and flower harvesting and marketing methods.

Safflower cultivation is also beneficial to beekeepers who locate their beehives near safflower fields as a rich source of food that increases the bees’ production and honey yields.

Fruit-tree Farming: Introducing Banana Cultivation | زراعة الأشجار المثمرة: ادخال زراعة الموز

Idlib Governorate in Northwest Syria is famous for the cultivation of diverse fruit trees including olives, figs and cherries. It is characterised by fertile soil and a mild climate that suits many types of fruit tree.

Under the current conflict conditions in which export is difficult, most farmers are forced to sell their produce in local markets at low prices due to produce exceeding demand. The introduction of new crops is an important new factor, allowing farmers to increase diversity of produce and opportunity in local markets, and enhance economic returns.

This instructive video documents the experience of a fruit trees farmer based in the city of Darkush, Idlib Governorate, who introduced banana cultivation on his farm. It highlights the challenges this raised, in particular the high cost of related inputs and the lack of reliable varieties, and suggests ways to address them:

  • support with agricultural inputs and transition to modern irrigation methods;
  • research to develop locally-adapted banana seedlings;
  • increased diversity through research on other types of fruit trees or varieties that are compatible with local environmental conditions.

Wheat Cultivation: Enhancing Food Security |
زراعة القمح: تعزيز الأمن الغذائي

Wheat is one of the most important strategic crops in Syria, both as a primary source of food and livelihood for farmers. However, climate change, including drought, coupled with a decade of conflict, loss of subsidies and mass inflation impacting agricultural production and agricultural input costs, has seen a decline of over 50% in wheat production.

Although local authorities and humanitarian organisations are supporting and encouraging farmers to cultivate wheat, in order to meet local needs, there is currently an approximately 50% shortfall. This support is provided in  different interventions, the most important of which is for actors that make up the wheat value chain, starting with agricultural inputs, storage and marketing, through to bread production, as well as the provision of agricultural extension services.

This video includes an interview with a representative of INSAN, a non-governmental organisation that is supporting wheat farmers. The interview addresses the importance of wheat as a crop, and the type of support that farmers need, including agricultural extension services through which cultivation methods that increase yields can be shared to ensure a profitable crop. The video outlines a number of urgent interventions to help address the challenges of expanding wheat production and enhancing farmers’ abilities to mitigate the negative impact of climate change and drought, and high agriculture production costs through:

  • the adoption of modern irrigation methods using solar energy;
  • the cultivation of appropriate wheat varieties;
  • the importance of preserving locally-adapted Syrian varieties;
  • support for the wheat value chain; and
  • ensuring that wheat is an economically viable crop that provides farmers with a reasonable return.

More videos coming soon!