Syria needs to import between 180,000 tons and 200,000 tons of wheat a month, the economy minister was cited as saying on Sunday, blaming a shortfall on “militias” preventing farmers from selling their wheat to the state.
Mohamed Samer al-Khalil was quoted in al-Watan newspaper as saying the imports would cost about $400 million but did not clarify a timeframe for spending that figure.
Syria’s economy is collapsing under the weight of a complex, multi-sided conflict now in its 10th year, as well as a financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon.
The currency collapse in Syria has led to soaring prices and people struggling to afford food and basic supplies.
Before the conflict, Syria used to produce 4 million tons of wheat in a good year and was able to export 1.5 million tons. This year it has produced between 2.1 million and 2.4 million tons of wheat this year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates.
Demand across the country is about 4 million tons, leaving a shortfall to fill through imports.