Harvesting Hope: Ahmad’s Journey from Desperation to Abundance

January 16, 2024

Ahmad happy to finally reap the benefits of his hard work

@UNDP Syria - Zuhir Al Fourati

Ahmad, a 52-year-old farmer from Deir ez-Zour is the primary provider for his big family of 18, including his parents and some of his siblings. “I was forced to flee my home and my land due to the war. With no means to support my family, I had to return to a looted home and theydry and barren land,” said Ahmad.


The quality and abundance of the crops were impacted because of land salination and the fact that the agricultural drainage wells were either out of service or damaged due to the war. Tainted by excessive salt, the soil posed an unpredictable challenge for each planting season. “I almost lost hope as I watched my once fertile land wither away. Every season, I would plant seeds with a mixture of hope and uncertainty, unsure whether the harsh conditions would allow the crops to flourish,” explained Ahmad. “The crops did not grow well, and it mostly died. I was forced to work in the land of neighbouring villages in exchange for a small wage,” he added.


Heading to work one morning, Ahmad could not contain his happiness when a neighbour informed him that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would intervene and rehabilitate the wells in the village. The joy among the villagers was indescribable as they prepared their land for cultivation.


Ahmad with his small sheep herd

@UNDP Syria - Zuhir Al Fourati

The United Nations Development Programme rehabilitated six agricultural water wells in the Deir ez-Zour rural area through the Funding Window supported project. Ahmad is one of the fifty-four farmers who were able to reclaim their land and plant them again following the reduction in water salination. Crops were in abundance again and of high quality. Over 2000 men and women labourers now have a source of income harvesting farming lands.


The sight of groundwater filled Ahmad with joy and renewed hope. Now, with the wells functioning, Ahmad tirelessly worked day and night on his 68-acre land. “The wheat crop flourished, yielding high-quality produce. Before the wells were fixed, the yield was around 120 kilograms per acre, barely covering the cost of cultivation. Today, each acre produces approximately 600 kilograms,” said Ahmad.


One of the six wells rehabilitated by UNDP and supported with a solar energy run pump

@UNDP Syria - Zuhir Al Fourati

This project not only revitalized the agricultural landscape but also restored hope, prosperity, and resilience to Ahmad and many others in Deir ez-Zour. Ahmad, who once felt powerless, now sees it as his sole source of livelihood. He expressed a newfound strength, having finally secured the needs of his family. “I was watching my land die until the well became operational and brought life back to me and my land,” he concluded.


“I was watching my land die until the well became operational and brought life back to me and my land”
Ahmad, 52-year-old farmer from Deir ez-Zour