development and analysis of Farming Systems (FS) is an instrument
adopted in support of agricultural analysis at the NAPC. The specific
contribution of the national farming system study to the tasks
undertaken by the NAPC lies in providing a framework of analysis based
on a consideration of both the geographical differentiation as well as
the socio-economic stratification of the agricultural sector of Syria.
A team of
six NAPC researchers (Ahmad Sadiddin, Akram Shhaideh, Firas Yassin,
Hassan AL Mojahed, Mourad AL Sayyed, Raid Hamza, and Samira Al-Zoughbi)
carried out this study over a period of nine months, with the
assistance of Mr Horst Wattenbach, FAO international consultant.
During a part of this period, Mr Mahmoud Al Ashram also supported the
team as National FAO Consultant.
main objective of the FS research was to allow policy makers to base
their decisions on a better knowledge of the agro-ecologic and
socio-economic conditions of the households and of the potential
impacts of agricultural policy changes (e.g. prices, market openness).
methodology of the study comprised several analytical steps. In a
first step, the team defined the major farming systems, which reflect
geographic zones, marked by different agro-climatic, agro-ecologic and
market conditions as well as production traditions based on
socio-demographic characteristics and supporting public investments.
Secondary literature was used to develop a preliminary structure and
criteria for differentiation, which was subsequently refined in
collaboration with experts from the different regions.
This resulted in the
distinction of six major Farming Systems (Coastal Intensive Irrigated FS,
Hilly and Mountainous FS, FS of Northern and North-eastern Plains, FS of Al
Ghab and the Central Rain fed and Irrigated Plains, FS of Southern Semi-arid
Mountains and Plains, and Pastoral and Agro-Pastoral FS).
study, each farming system is characterized by its natural conditions,
market integration and historical influences leading to differentiation and
specialization of production within it. The contribution of each farming
system to the national production of major crops and the degree of
specialization is presented. Within each farming system, typical households
represent the socio-economic variation, which exists naturally in any rural
society. These household types are developed in light of typical resources
endowment, their mix of livelihood assets and changes of the last decade.
The share of each household type in the farming system in combination with
its production orientation allows analyzing ability to adjust to,
opportunities deriving from, and vulnerabilities to changing production
research shows how policy change and technological innovation will affect
each household type, depending on the relative importance of its different
income sources and livelihood strategies. The key finding is the
characterization of each farming systems in the national context. This
allows reviewing the possible effects of policy and technological
adjustments for representative households, individual farming system as well
as at aggregate level, providing valuable information for agricultural