€1.14 million in additional funding is to be provided by the Department of Agriculture to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in support of their emergency operations associated with the Syrian Conflict.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney said today that the WFP is providing critical life-saving humanitarian assistance in this region.

“This conflict has been long and protracted leading to devastating consequences for the Syrian people as well imposing enormous humanitarian burdens on the neighbouring countries, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Turkey which are hosting large and increasing numbers of refugees.”

The Syrian Conflict has been raging for over three years and has resulted in thirteen million people being displaced, with over three million refugees hosted in the neighbouring countries. WFP recently indicated that it was suspending its food voucher scheme for refugees due to lack of funding.

In response to WFP’s call for international donors to provide additional funding, Minister Coveney has said the Department of Agriculture has allocated an additional €0.9m to WFP’s refugee programmes in the region.

In addition, the Department of Agriculture support of FAO’s emergency and rehabilitation operations which are targeted at the recovery of agriculture production and rural livelihoods, the Minister has allocated €0.24m to FAO operations in Lebanon aimed at providing agriculture inputs to assist the recovery of sustainable agriculture production.

Minister Coveney underlined that “Recovery of agriculture production systems in the region will not only provide valuable sources of food but as we know in Ireland, provide economic wellbeing in rural areas. I therefore fully support FAO’s efforts to support the recovery of rural livelihoods in the region through the development of increased agriculture production.”