Thu 27 Jun 2019

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Agricultural Loans for Famers of Azaz in Northern Aleppo

Farms in the vicinity of the city of Azaz - February 2017 (Azaz Media Office)

Farms in the vicinity of the city of Azaz - February 2017 (Azaz Media Office)

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The city of Azaz, northern rural Aleppo, witnessed the launch of a project, under which agricultural loans are to be granted to farmers, in a unique step to the area.

The development project, which began on January 5, is being offered by the two loan funds of “Development Fund of Investment and Development” and “Yad al-Aoun” (A Hand for Relief). The two foundations are granting applicants agricultural loans worth $500 to contribute to agricultural development and to move from the phase of consumption to production in the city of Azaz.

The project covers the rural parts of the city of Azaz, specifically the villages of al-Salameh, Maarin, Yazibagh, Shmarekh, Tatia, Telal al- Sham, Shamarin, Naddah, Nyara, Yahmul, al-Fayruziyah, Jarez, Barisha and Sheikh Reih.

The project aims to spread the culture of self-reliance, so citizens would not be dependent on the civil society organizations and to help them shift from consumption to production after eight years of war, Abdullah al-Sun, managerial director and public relations officer in “Yad al-Aoun.”

“The beneficiary has to meet the legal requirements of demanded documents and have a real estate or an agricultural land’s lease or have a local partner and have a proven experience in the field of agriculture,” he said.

The beneficiary must also be over the age of 18 and must have at least one guarantor. Additionally, he or she must be committed to the granted loan’s program, according to the items stated in the first declaration of the project.

The two funds in charge of the project rely on special and self-supporting efforts, with no other donor bodies. The experiment is still in its first stage and faces some difficulties under the war conditions in Northern Syria.

The project prioritizes the productive class in the region, especially those with low incomes, provided that the beneficiary complies with the basic conditions of registration.

On top of the two funds’ objectives is to support vulnerable classes of the community and families who do not have a breadwinner. They also seek to guide these two segments according to a productive agricultural program to help them be self-sufficient.

The two funds direct the program as to be useful to the area, within the frame of reasonable time-bound plan.

The project is part of the development projects under the period of relative stability witnessed by rural Aleppo, and it contributes to the partial restoration of stability, but more importantly it is of primary benefit to the population, as well as the revitalization of financial and community institutions.

As the experience is new in Northern Syria, employers face some minor difficulties with applicants, such as bringing in official documents or that they want the two funds to cover all the agricultural projects, instead of offering partial loans only, according to al-Sun.

After the official announcement, the organization declared readiness for receiving applications in the village of al-Salameh, within the first steps of the project. The application, then, will be examined, so a shift would be made to the second phase and the grants be delivered to beneficiaries according to final lists, through which a feasibility study of the proposed project ideas would be examined.

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