0601 GMT January 23, 2020
In an address to a press conference on Monday, Abbas Zare added that according to statistics, 7.8 million hectares of Iranian irrigated lands are under cultivation, of which 3.2 million hectares are bottomlands and 5.5 million hectares are traditional farmlands, IRNA reported.
He noted that of this figure, two million hectares of farmlands and 200,000 hectares of modern lands have been equipped with modern irrigation systems, adding that the project is currently underway in close to 130,000 hectares of lands.
Zare said for the implementation of the project in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 2019), €150 million from the resources of the National Development Fund (NDF) and $119.04 million from the country’s annual budget have been allocated.
He noted that so far, the NDF has made available 20 percent of this fund, which would help equip up to 170,000 hectares of the country’s farmlands with such irrigation systems by March 2020.
“As stipulated in Iran’s Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2017-22), annually, 400,000 hectares of the country’s farmlands are required to be equipped with such systems. However, the annual target has been decreased to 250,000 hectares due to a shortage of financial resources. The actual annual fund currently provided is sufficient for implementing the project in up to 170,000 hectares of lands per year.”
Previously, he said, it was believed that only between three to four million hectares of Iranian farmlands are capable of being equipped with modern irrigation systems, adding, nevertheless, thanks to scientific and technological advances, it appears as if a major part of the country’s lands are suitable for using this method.
In 1990, a project started in the country to equip farmlands with sprinkler irrigation systems, Zare noted, saying that during 1990-2014, this irrigation method was used in 57 percent of Iranian lands.
“However, in the year to March 2019, the percentage dropped to 24 percent, indicating that we have been moving towards [promoting the use of] drip irrigation [systems].”
He announced that the fourth International Exhibition of Agriculture, Agricultural Machineries and Equipment, Inputs and Irrigation Systems (Iran Agri Show 2020) opens today at the Tehran International Permanent Fairgrounds and will continue until January 17.