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Syria wheat production hits lowest level in 29 years

BEIRUT (AP) — The U.N. food agency says extreme weather in Syria has caused domestic agricultural production to hit its lowest point in three decades.

World Food Programme spokesman Herve Verhoosel said Tuesday that Syria’s wheat production this year fell to a 29-year low of 1.2 million tons, about two-thirds of last year’s levels.

He said the drop is due to an extended period of dry weather early in the season followed by heavy, out-of-season rain.

Analysts say an extended drought may have helped fuel Syria’s 2011 uprising and civil war.

The WFP released its report as Executive Director David Beasley visited Syria, where he met Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and toured eastern suburbs of the capital, Damascus, that were captured by the government earlier this year.

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