Syrian regime government sets wheat purchase price from farmers

Delivery of wheat crop from farmers to the grains center in Raqqa city - May 31, 2023 (Agricultural Media in Syria/ Facebook)

Delivery of wheat crop from farmers to the grains center in Raqqa city - May 31, 2023 (Agricultural Media in Syria/ Facebook)

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The Syrian regime’s Council of Ministers has set the purchase price of wheat from farmers for the 2023-2024 agricultural season at 5,500 Syrian pounds per kilogram ($0.36 USD).

This was announced during the council’s weekly session today, Tuesday, April 23, with an increase of four cents compared to the price proposed for the 2023 wheat season, which was 2,800 pounds ($0.32 USD according to the exchange rate at the time against the Syrian pound of 8,600 pounds).

The selling price of one US dollar against the Syrian pound registered 14,900 pounds according to the S-P Today website, specialized in currency exchange rates.

The price was set following promises by the Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Hassan Qatna, on April 21, that the government would set a good price for the wheat crop so that farmers can market the largest quantity of the production, and it would be rewarding for the farmers to encourage them.

Qatna stated that the area planted with wheat this year reached 580,000 hectares, half of which is irrigated and the other half is rainfed, noting that the quantities of wheat are currently good and sufficient due to rainfall, without specifying or estimating the expected production quantities.

The regime government set the purchase price of wheat from farmers in 2022 at about 2,000 Syrian pounds ($0.5 USD).

The government’s pricing of wheat faced criticism from farmers, as it does not align with the costs of farming and operational expenses, such as plowing, labor wages, machinery, and fertilizers.

Wheat is considered one of the main strategic crops in Syria, and since 1990 until 2010, the average crop production exceeded four million tons. In 2006, Syria recorded its highest production figure of 4.9 million tons, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, with an average domestic consumption of 2.5 million tons, allowing for an export surplus ranging between 1.2 and 1.5 million tons.

Three prices for the 2023 season

The quantities of wheat received from the regime-controlled areas in 2023 amounted to 725,000 tons, and the regime government set three different prices for purchasing the kilogram, which it issued gradually following sharp criticisms that the price does not match the costs.

The first price was set at 2,300 Syrian pounds (around $0.3 USD), then the price per kilogram was set a second time at 2,500 pounds, with an additional 300 pounds as “incentive bonuses,” bringing the price to 2,800 pounds per kilogram.

Due to the low quantities received from the eastern regions of Syria, Prime Minister, Hussein Arnous, announced granting farmers an “encouragement bonus” of 200 Syrian pounds for every kilogram of wheat delivered in 2023 to the centers of the Syrian Grain Foundation (Hoboob) in Deir Ezzor province.

For years, the regime government has been securing wheat from Russia through various methods, including through bilateral agreements that are rarely disclosed, or through tenders issued by the General Grain Foundation in Syria to buy wheat, or what Russia sends as “aid,” or Russia’s “theft” of Ukrainian wheat and sending part of it to Syria, as revealed by official Ukrainian sources and news agencies, despite the regime’s denial of such claims.

 

 

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