Agricultural knowledge from the academy to farming communities: the role of HE in enhancing food security in Syria
Shaher Abdullateef, Esraa Almashhour, Abdulmonem Alabboud, Basem Mohamed Saleh, Majdi Alhusni, Abdulrahman Albayoush, Muhammed Assaf, Andrew Adam-Bradford
Prior to the conflict, agriculture was the most important sector of the Syrian economy. Despite being in a period of sustained crisis since 2011, agriculture is still considered an important part of Syria’s economy (26% GDP) and critical for self-sufficiency for more than 75% of households who grow their own food for consumption. Recently, many factors, including the loss of expertise, forced internal and external displacement, damage to the agricultural infrastructure, and collapsed extension services have seriously affected food security. There are also several instances of food being used as a weapon of siege or as a tool of control. The dynamics of the Syrian conflict present a complex set of challenges for educational development.
This research investigates the impact of the crisis on the role of higher education in food security in Syria. It looks at food availability, food access, changes in farming practices, knowledge exchange, and the place of agricultural extension in knowledge transfer. It considers how universities, graduates, and appropriate curriculum and research engagement can address challenges and provide innovative solutions to food insecurity and as such has relevance for similar contexts in other parts of the world.
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The research team would like to thank Cara (Council for At-Risk Academics) for funding this research within the framework of strand 4. We would like also to thank all our research partners, NGOs, the field research assistants and all participants for their great collaborations.