June 21, 2017 / 1:48 PM / 2 months ago

Wheat farmers begin harvest in war-ravaged Syria

DAMASCUS, June 21 (Reuters) - Wheat farmers began harvesting their crop this month in Syria, where years of war have forced the one-time wheat exporter to tender for imports.

Syria's wheat harvest fell by almost half to 1.3 million tonnes last year, its lowest in 27 years, as fighting and poor rainfall hobbled the nation's ability to feed itself.

In April, Minister of Agriculture Ahmad al-Qadiri said Syria, once self-sufficient in wheat and able to export 1.5 million tonnes, was expected to produce 2.17 million tonnes in the 2017 season, state news agency SANA reported.

Reporting by Kinda Makieh in Damascus and Lisa Barrington in Beirut; Editing by Patrick Johnston and Dale Hudson

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