Daily Bread for Syria

Syrian youth holding bread.
USAID-funded flour supports more than 230 bakeries across six governorates in Syria.
Deliveries of flour and yeast help Syrian bakeries provide customers with a mainstay of their daily meals
"Flour is so important to us, it is essential and we depend on it especially since we don’t have any other resources."

November 2015—From pure sustenance to poetic symbolism, “khubz”—Arabic for bread—has long been a key pillar of Syrian society. As Syrians peacefully protested in 2011, bread often served as a symbol of their dissatisfaction with the regime. Bread is also central to Syrian society as bags of fresh, hot khubz are ubiquitous whenever families gather for meals.

Since conflict and massive displacement have left unprecedented numbers of Syrians experiencing extreme loss, USAID has worked to not only help meet their immediate food needs, but also to restore some level of normalcy amidst the war-devastated society. 

In early 2013, USAID launched a five-month project in northern Syria to supply flour to 50 bakeries, enabling them to stay in business and offer affordable bread to their communities.

“It saved us from starving…without flour assistance it will be so hard to survive,” said one man buying bread from his local bakery. Following the success of the program in Aleppo, USAID supported a major scale-up of this project in different parts of the country.

Today, USAID-funded flour supports more than 230 bakeries across six governorates, helping them to operate, as well as enabling warehouse workers who collect and distribute bags of flour to continue earning an income. 

By using subsidized flour, bakeries can keep their prices low enough that their customers  can actually afford to buy fresh bread. While the price of bread increased by 700 percent in some areas late last year, USAID-supported bakeries were able to offer bread at half the average cost—benefiting not only those who shopped at the bakeries, but Syrians across the entire governorate, as it helped stabilize market bread prices. 

Since they began in 2013, USAID-support programs have provided 122,000 metric tons of flour and yeast, equating to more than 300 million daily bread rations.

In addition to improving access and availability of bread and stabilizing its price, the program helps Syrians maintain at least one aspect of their normal routine, shopping in the market and providing fresh khubz for their children. As one beneficiary commented: “Flour is so important to us, it is essential and we depend on it especially since we don’t have any other resources.” 

Today, bread remains a staple in Syrian society, and knowing their neighborhood bakeries will continue to produce it, not only provides Syrians with relief from hunger, but a small sense of security at a time when uncertainty abounds.

Last updated: July 10, 2018

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