Syria raises local wheat purchasing price amid shortage


Syria's government has raised the price it pays local farmers for their wheat to 125 Syrian pounds ($0.2427 at the official rate) per kg in an attempt to encourage planting of the grain for the coming 2016/2017 season.

Syria's wheat harvest nearly halved to just 1.3 million tonnes this year, the lowest in 27 years, as fighting and poor rainfall hit the farming sector and the nation's ability to feed itself.

The new price compares to 100 Syrian pounds a kg announced in June when purchasing of the 2015/2016 wheat crop began, a government source said.

"The rains have been slow to come this year as well and it will affect the quality of the soil for planting but it is too early to tell to what extent yet," the source said.

Syria is facing an estimated shortfall of 838,000 tonnes in its national wheat requirement of 3.845 million tonnes taking into account commercial imports, the United Nations has said.

State grain buying agency Hoboob said it would buy one million tonnes of Russian wheat from political ally Russia to fill the gap in October but traders have expressed scepticism the purchase would go through as the price cited was too cheap and the firm awarded the contract was little known.

Russia is sending 100,000 tonnes as humanitarian aid to Assad's government.

Before the five-year-old civil war, Syria was a wheat exporter producing four million tonnes in a good year and able to export 1.5 million tonnes.


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