Water as a source of empowerment for Women in Agriculture
From Wasteland to Farmland in Deiz ez-Zour
May 28, 2023
Raneem is 20 years old from Deir ez-Zour. She and her family had to flee her home because of the war and relocate to another area, leaving their land and everything they own behind.
“We came back to Deir ez-Zour after the war ended to find that salt has degraded the soil in our land. Salination turned our farmland into a wasteland,” Raneem explained. This situation forced the family to work overtime to restore the land and make it fertile and economically feasible again. 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. Groundwater and the salination of Raneem’s land were on the rise.
“Our plant’s growth rate and quality deteriorated, reducing our yield and leading to total crop failure. We were having difficulty in ploughing and harvesting because our farmland was waterlogged and the soil was muddy. We were afraid of losing our land. It is our life and everything we own,” Raneem said.
This motivated Raneem to help her family. Every morning, Raneem, along with her father and brothers, would go farm the land, their only source of income. She would disburse the seeds, and during harvest, she, her mother and brothers would alternate. They needed more than the money they earned from harvesting to hire additional farmers during the harvest period. The crops were barely enough to feed the family.
The United Nations Development Programme rehabilitated five agricultural water wells in Deir ez-Zour rural area through the Funding Window supported project. Raneem 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.
“We had no hope before the wells were rehabilitated. The land is now fertile. We plant different crops every season. We are also hiring other women to support us during harvest”. Raneem’s determination and her love for farming enabled dignified livelihoods and brought their land back to the state it was before the war – fertile, green and sustainable.
“We had no hope before the wells were rehabilitated. The land is now fertile. We plant different crops every season. We are also hiring other women to support us during harvest”.Raneem from Deir ez-Zour