The results of the rainfall, NDVI and temperatures analysis – all considered in FAO’s Agricultural Stress Index – show that May has been used for harvesting winter crops inside Syria. This is evidenced by the increased use of the colour blue (see legend) in the areas where agriculture plays a significant role. There are still a few areas in the north-west of Syria (e.g. Aleppo and Idleb) that have been badly affected. These areas have typically seen stress over a number of months, so their harvests are expected to have been negatively impacted. Agriculture in the areas of Lattakia and Tartous is expected to have done better, as less than 10 percent of the areas has been classified as stressed. Note that since the ASI is based on Remotely Sensed data only, and there is no confirmation on what crops have been planted.
Precipitation has been below the long term average over Syria for the months of March, April and May (2016). Also, higher temperatures have been observed across the region for the same time period. Together, these have seen vegetation growth to be below average over much of Syria. 2015 saw a higher than expected precipitation and therefore shows a greater NDVI difference for 2016 than compared to the Long Term Average for Syria. Vegetation conditions look good over the northern and central Iraq when compared to the long term average, while north-eastern Syria also shows above average vegetation activity. As we are now in the dry season for the region, any impact on summer crops development (e.g. vegetables, fruit and fodder crops) depends largely on availability and access to irrigation.