Syria Recovery Trust Fund finishes second phase of agricultural project in Raqqa

"The intervention had a positive impact as it boosted the role of farmers' cooperatives."
The city of Raqqa (Photo: Kurdistan 24/Wladimir van Wilgenburg)
The city of Raqqa (Photo: Kurdistan 24/Wladimir van Wilgenburg)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF) announced on Tuesday that it has finished the second phase of an agricultural project in the former ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.

"The intervention had a positive impact as it boosted the role of farmers' cooperatives by providing the needed agricultural services to local farmers and secured the efficient operation, maintenance and storage of the agricultural machinery that the SRTF provided," the SRTF said in a press release.

The multi-donor trust fund said 3,986 farmers benefited from eight different farming cooperatives established in eight villages in Raqqa province.

"Beneficiary farmers started to see positive outcomes from the intervention through the availability of the agricultural machinery and equipment needed to cultivate, plant and harvest their lands," read the press release.

"Moreover, the agricultural services were provided to farmers through the mechanisation centres in an organised manner, at more affordable costs."

The project had a total budget of over $2 million. 

The SRTF is a multi-donor trust fund established by the group of Friends of Syria in September 2013 to finance recovery and rehabilitation activities to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

There is a dire need for agricultural support in northeast Syria due to water scarcity and drought. In recent years, drought has adversely affected crops in Raqqa and other parts of northeast Syria. 

Diplomats, UN officials, and humanitarian organizations have also been alarmed by worsening agricultural conditions and water scarcity.

In November, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) donated 3,000 tons of wheat to prevent a food shortage amidst drought and decreasing water flows to northeast Syria.

Read More: Increasing alarm over water scarcity and food security in northeast Syria

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated Raqqa from ISIS in October 2017 with support from the US-led coalition. 

However, the US withdrew troops from parts of northeast Syria, including Raqqa, in 2019 after a decision by then-US President Donald Trump. 

Nevertheless, he was later convinced to keep troops in Hasakah and the eastern Deir al-Zor province, which contain most of Syria's oil resources. 

Read More: In Raqqa, the Syrian government remains unwelcome

Despite the US pullout from Raqqa and Ain Issa, humanitarian and developmental organizations are still active there.