Enhancing Food Security and Improving Livelihoods

January 9, 2024

Habsha happy and proud to harvest corn from her land

©UNDP Syria - Abdalmalek Alabdalaa

After five difficult years of displacement, Habsha, 45 years old, returned with her husband and six children to her hometown of al-Qasabi in the rural areas of Deir ez-Zour in eastern Syria. “For five years, I had to start over every time I moved from one place to the other,” said Habsha. “I knew it would be difficult to come back to a destroyed and looted home and a dry and barren land, but at least I would be able to settle in my hometown and start working on rebuilding a future for myself and my family” she added. In an area where agriculture and livestock is the main source of income for the population, water scarcity and poor grazing lands left Habsha unable to secure seeds or fertilizers to cultivate the small plot of land she owns. She relied on small wages working in neighbouring lands and assistance provided by her community. “My only dream was to replant my land, rely on myself and help my husband provide my children with what they need without anyone’s help.” She said.


One morning, one of Habsha’s friends knocked on her door to tell her that the United Nations Development Programme is supporting farmers as part of a value chain support project in their village. Habsha Immediately rushed to register and impatiently wait for an answer.

©UNDP Syria - Abdalmalek Alabdalaa

Habsha was one of 207 farmers in Deir EzZour who were trained in growing hybrid yellow maize and supported to procure the necessary inputs for rehabilitating their land and enhance its productivity. “Corn production in the past required significant amounts of water. Through the project we were trained on how to reduce water consumption for corn crops and utilize crop residues to create an organic fertilizer and feed the livestock,” said Habsha. 


Financed through the Funding Window, the United Nations Development Programme is not only piloting climate smart agricultural techniques to enhance food security and improve livelihoods in the targeted communities. It is also advancing women's empowerment as being both beneficiaries and active participants in the project by equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to broaden their economic horizons. Habsha was able to plant 10 dunams of hybrid maize this year. “Thanks to the project, we earned enough income to enable us to rent an apartment for my daughters who are currently studying at university,” she said.