Struggling Syria farmers turn to tropical fern for fodder

To dodge skyrocketing prices for animal fodder in Syria’s last major rebel bastion, farmer Ayman Ibrahim has turned to an aquatic fern used as a fertiliser in Asian rice paddies. Azolla, which looks more like a pond weed than a fern, is regarded as an invasive plant in much of the world but is used to feed livestock in parts of southeast Asia. Ibrahim, a former tailor who took up farming in the rebel-held Idlib region after fleeing fighting in Syria’s second city of Aleppo in 2016, says the plant has given him huge savings over traditional animal feeds like hay or silage. Azolla is highly prod…

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HEDGE accordingly