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Syria, Economy

Syrias economy depends heavily on its agricultural production. The country has 4.7 million hectares (11.6 million acres) of cultivated land, accounting for 26 percent of its total land area. About one-fifth of the tilled acreage is irrigated, but extensive areas lie unused for lack of water. Irrigation is necessary even in many regions that receive substantial annual rainfall, because most of the rainfall occurs during the winter rather than during the growing season. Much of the acreage under cultivation suffers from soil exhaustion because of insufficient use of fertilizers and failure to rotate crops. The estimated national budget in 1998 included $16.1 billion in domestic revenue and $16.6 billion in expenditure. Syria is heavily dependent on aid from the major Arab oil-producing states.

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