ROME (Sputnik) — Syrian agriculture, which has been severely damaged throughout the course of the armed conflict in the country, should be fully transformed, rather than just restored, Jose Graziano da Silva, the director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told Sputnik Monday.
"As for the long-term vision, I should make it clear that because of the huge impact of the crisis on agriculture, we can no longer use a 'building back approach' to bring the sector to its pre-crisis level. Rather, we need to transform it," Graziano da Silva said.
The FAO chief indicated that the FAO prioritizes providing assistance to the Syrian citizens who had returned to their homes and the creation of favorable conditions for farmers in the next few months.
Syria has been in a state of civil war for six years. According to the FAO report titled "Counting the cost: Agriculture in Syria after six years of crisis," the agricultural sector accounts for 26 percent of Syria's GDP, while as much as 75 percent of Syrian households still grow food for personal consumption. The estimated cost of damage caused to the agricultural sector during the six years of war amounts to $16 billion, with the Syrian provinces of Al-Hassakeh, Ar-Raqqa, rural Damascus, Deir ez-Zor, Dara’a and Idleb having suffered the most significant losses.