American University of Beirut

Seeds For Recovery Workshop: Do complex agricultural interventions strengthen food security?

On the 28th and 29th of September, 2022, academics, practitioners, and policymakers came together at the American University of Beirut to present research findings of the SEEDS for Recovery project and discuss emerging policy implications.  

The SEEDS for Recovery project evaluated the short- and long-term impact of a complex agricultural intervention conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Syria. This project was funded by CEDIL – Center of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning Initiative and UK Aid and involved a collaboration between ISDC – International Security and Development Center and the American University of Beirut (AUB). The intervention provided households with agricultural emergency support of seeds and tools, as well as early recovery support, such as rehabilitating irrigation systems. The overarching goal of the program is to diversify income-generating activities and improve food security, nutrition and welfare.

Using innovative quantitative methods, researchers analyzed the short-, medium- and long-term impacts of the agricultural interventions on food security in Syria. The results showed that there is a 10% improvement in food security causally linked to the program. The remote-sensing analysis showed that rehabilitating irrigation systems significantly increased the use of water and the crop productivity to reach pre-conflict levels in some areas. Women-headed households who experienced moderate violent events benefited the most from these interventions. No positive significant effect on building resilience was found.

The workshop presented lessons learned from this research particularly drawing attention to improving the design and implementation of complex agricultural interventions in conflict-affected settings.

Participants and panelists came from a variety of organizations, including ISDC, CRPH, AUB, FAO, the UK FCDO, Mercy Corps and Oxfam. Discussions focused on context related issues to understand the impact pathways and fine-tune targeting, clustering interventions, market-oriented approaches essential for the sustainability of agricultural interventions, and access to irrigation.​

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