Qatar Charity (QC), through its regional office in Turkey, continues to implement a qualitative project that is the "first of its kind" in the region, in partnership with international humanitarian organisations.
It is aimed at enhancing food security in northern Syria, especially in the light of the repercussions of the crisis that Syria has been going through for nine years, QC has said in a statement.
The project, which is 80% complete, is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Programme.
The initiative is expected to provide food security for 24,510 people in Marea, a town in Syria, and surrounding areas in addition to indirect beneficiaries exceeding 267,000 people throughout the northern countryside of Aleppo.
It involves storing wheat, purchasing a mill, providing technical support to farmers and educating them, according to a need assessment made by Qatar Charity in 2019.
The project, which supports the wheat crop from seed to bread and distributes it to beneficiaries for a period of 14 months, comes at a time when agriculture is a source of livelihood for 65% of the population in northern Syria,
The project works on storing wheat in silos with a total storage capacity of 12,000 tonnes of wheat, in addition to purchasing a new mill with a production capacity of 50 tonnes of flour per day.
To support the marketing of wheat, 1,050 tonnes of wheat were purchased for milling and supporting the kiln with flour, and 905 tonnes of bread were also distributed.
QC has provided 200 agricultural baskets containing fertilisers and pesticides to 200 farmers, with each of them growing one hectare of wheat, totalling nearly 200 hectares, as part of the project.
Qatar Charity also provided technical support to farmers by holding awareness-raising sessions and distributing awareness leaflets, in addition to delivering 278,000 litres of diesel to beneficiaries for supplementary irrigation of wheat fields.
In the meantime, the technical staff is being trained to manage the silos and mill, in addition to training the local council to manage and continue operating the silos and mill.
So far, support for wheat storage and marketing has been provided, in addition to supporting farmers with agricultural baskets, raising awareness and providing relevant necessary information to them. "This is how Qatar Charity has completed 80% of the project. The mill is expected to be installed on the project site in the eighth month," the statement adds.
Engineer Zakaria al-Mutair, the food security and livelihoods official at the regional office of Qatar Charity in Turkey, said the project was designed to bridge the gap and store wheat, in addition to producing flour and distributing bread.
Al-Mutair added that this project is the first of its kind in the region, especially as it further enhances food security in northern Syria using silos with a storage capacity of 12,000 tonnes of wheat. There will be a strategic stockpile that will meet the need of Marea for two years in a row.
For his part, the deputy head of the local Marea Council, Omar Kor Bilal, described the project as huge because it involves setting up a wheat mill with a daily production capacity of 50 tonnes.
The farmers expressed happiness with this project. One of them, Subhi al-Najjar, said he returned to cultivating his land, which is his only source of livelihood, after a four-year hiatus, thanks to the support given to him in this regard.