OREANDA-NEWS  Syria in January bought 200 thousand tons of Russian wheat, in February it is planned to purchase the same volume against the background of a record low harvest in 2018, said the Director General of the State Organization for Trade and Production of Grain Yusef Kasim.

Before the Syrian crisis, the country produced up to 4 million tons of grain per year. With the outbreak of hostilities, the volume of production decreased, in 2017 it amounted to 1.8 million tons of grain. The situation worsened in 2018, mainly due to bad weather conditions: according to the World Food Program (WFP), wheat production in Syria amounted to 1.2 million tons of grain, which is a record low for 29 years.

"The organization began to implement the first contract this year – the purchase on credit of 200 thousand tons of wheat of Russian origin at a price of about 135 thousand Syrian liras (311 dollars) per ton," - said the local newspaper al-Baath Qasim.

According to him, a similar contract will be implemented in February. "The number of such contracts for the import of wheat this year is due to the volume (local – ed.) production, which is expected in the new season. These estimates will be received in July by the organization from farmers", - the interlocutor of the newspaper explained.

According to Kasim, the organization in the framework of the contracts for 2018 received 298 thousand tons of wheat delivered on ships, this volume will be enough for Syria for more than 45 days. Kasim noted that since 2015 Syria imports only Russian wheat. The price of a ton varies from 96 thousand liras (221 dollars) to 130 thousand (311 dollars).

In General, in 2018, the Organization signed eight contracts for the supply of wheat totaling 1.3 billion tons worth 125 billion Syrian liras.

Minister of transport of the Syrian Arab Republic Ali Hamud in November said in an interview that Russia will create in Syria the largest hub for the export of Russian grain in the Middle East, as part of a full-scale project is planned to create the necessary transport infrastructure.