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News > World

US Sent Wheat Seeds Containing Pests To Syria

  • Wheat seeds from USAID are delivered to Syria, Nov. 19, 2021.

    Wheat seeds from USAID are delivered to Syria, Nov. 19, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @EA_WorldView

Published 3 December 2021 (9 hours 34 minutes ago)
Opinion

The U.S. Agency for International Development vows that the seeds had gone through treatment and testing for safety and quality before they were donated.

Syrian agriculture officials have been complaining that the wheat seeds, recently provided by the United States for farmers in the Al-Hasakah province, contain a high degree of nematode (plant-parasitic worm) infection that would harm the soil.

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In the laboratory examination that used saline solution, researchers found a number of grains are infected with wheat allele, which is a nematode infection. In the visual examination of the sample, there were broken grains and some strange dark galls.

"We put the sample under the microscope. We noticed the presence of larva. Its length was about 2 millimeters. The engineers started examining the samples, and the result was catastrophic. The samples examined were 1 kilogram, and they contained 30 to 34 nematode seeds," said Jamal Abdullah, head of the examination committee at the Al Hasakah Agricultural Faculty

The Syrian Agriculture Ministry also confirmed the invalidity of the wheat seeds provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to farmers. It found that the seeds are not suitable for cultivation due to a high rate of 40 percent of nematodes. Farmers have been warned against the seeds, which, once planted, will incur pests that jeopardize any plantation in the lands.

"We were offered the American seeds, but we didn't accept it. The American occupation destroyed all the people. They burned crops, stole crops. We do not trust the American seeds. We want Syrian seeds. The insects would ruin the land for six years," said Ali al-Mohammad, an Al-Hasakah farmer. In response to the news of contaminated seeds, USAID vowed that the wheat seeds had gone through treatment and testing for safety and quality before they were donated.

The offering of the invalid wheat seeds, however, has been widely regarded as a U.S. misconduct in Syria. Since 2014, the United States has been wrecking havoc in the country through shelling, airstrikes, and political manipulation. It has also greatly undermined the Syrian economy by seizing the control of the country's gas and oil fields and imposing suffocating sanctions.

"It was America that destroyed us. Had it not been America, we would have lived in prosperity. America entered and destroyed us. We have no fuel, no services, no roads, no bread," said Mahmoud al-Hassan, a farmer in Al-Hasakah.

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