Farmers reach out to Syrian refugees who are experiencing hunger

8 Nov 2013   |   Media release   |   Supporter action

WA farmer Laurie Watson

Farmers across Western Australia are being asked to give up some of this year’s grain harvest to help children and their families who are experiencing hunger and malnutrition and fleeing from Syria.

Caritas Australia is providing urgent humanitarian support, including the distribution of food, to Syrian refugees and communities in need in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The conflict in Syria is escalating and the number of Syrian refugees currently exceeds 2 million.

It’s an initiative driven by retired farmers, Laurie Watson and his mates Alan McGill and Frank Schwarzbach. They are urging West Australian farmers to donate a small percentage of this year’s harvest or their excess grain weight overload to Caritas Australia in a bid to help with humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, including food and water.

“This crisis in Syria is affecting so many people, particularly children, who in many cases are going to bed hungry every night,” Mr Watson said.

As wheat farmers, we understand the importance of food to people... and as farmers we want to do something to help."
Laurie Watson, WA farmer

“As wheat farmers, we understand the importance of food to people. Over the past three years, WA farmers have been dogged by severe frost, drought, and in another bumper year in 2011, we received heavy rain at harvest time, which seriously reduced yields and the quality of our grain harvest.

“But these trials and tribulations are nothing compared with what Syrian refugees are experiencing right now. In many cases, they’ve lost everything, and as farmers we want to do something to help.”

The people of WA are well known for their generosity during a crisis or emergency. Money raised will go to Caritas Australia’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

In 2011, farmers helped raised almost $7,000 for drought stricken East Africa and almost $4,000 for West Africa last year.

Caritas Australia, Head of Community Engagement, Helen Forde said; “We are so appreciative of the efforts Laurie and his mates are making. For the farmers of WA, to come to the assistance of those in desperate need among Syrian refugees, we are eternally grateful,” Ms Forde said.

“These types of efforts show amazing solidarity and will have a huge impact on the ground in feeding families and children and building food security among Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.”

Help ensure no one goes hungry. Donate your whole overload, 1 – 10 tonnes, or a truckload of grain. Go to, select LoadNet, and choose Caritas Australia, Entity Number 20221784

Laurie Watson, who is WA based, is available for interviews on 0418 422 225.
Media contact: Nicole Clements - (02) 8306 3490 or

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