Among the major challenges brought on by the suffocating and continuous siege of the city of Aleppo are massive food shortages. Residents in the city have always relied on the province’s countryside for their agricultural supplies. But with roads in and out of Aleppo being closed on an almost regular basis, supplying the city with produce and agricultural products has become a difficult and often dangerous task.
The Local Council in Aleppo City has been seeking solutions for problem of agricultural supplies. The siege of the city makes it very difficult to plan ahead and to provide residents with sustainable access to food. The LAC thus reached out to civil society organizations working on agriculture in the city. In August of 2016, the LAC announced the formation of the Agricultural High Council, a group tasked with organizing the agricultural efforts within Aleppo. 9 CSOs are represented on the council, which works to supervise and facilitate the work of different local and international organizations.
The AHC is currently overseeing a project to utilize unused land within the city to grow fruits and vegetables. It established a monitoring and evaluation committee to follow up on the implementation of the project, and provide guidelines for distribution of tasks among the various organizations taking part in the project. The council meets on a weekly basis to discuss progress on the project.
As a result of the collective efforts of the Local Council and the AHC, farmers have been able to grow crops locally in Aleppo city, and provide produce to the local community at much lower prices. The AHC has set up 2 retail points in the city’s neighborhoods, and is offering the products for up to half the prices of the market.