Economy, Domestic Economy

Water Crisis Choking Isfahan Agriculture

Water Crisis Choking Isfahan AgricultureWater Crisis Choking Isfahan Agriculture

Located in arid regions of Iran with minimal annual precipitation, Isfahan province has been struggling with drought for seven years. Nevertheless, it is obliged to exploit maximum capacity in various sectors of agriculture to increase productivity by promoting optimum water use and changing farming methods.

In the current year, 1000 billion rials (about $30 million at market exchange rate) worth of government credit have been allocated to farmers of Isfahan to incorporate new methods of irrigation and farming, namely greenhouse cultivation that can boost productivity up to five times its current rate, Donyaye Eghtesad quoted Head of Agricultural Jihad Organization (AJO) as saying.

Mentioning that 500 billion rials (about $15 million) of the sum have been paid so far, Ghodratollah Ghasemi said Isfahan has supplied approximately six million tons of agriculture, horticulture, and pastoral nomadic products so far this year, and that greenhouse products are planned by the AJO to follow suit.

There is no dryland farming in Isfahan due to its low average annual precipitation of 120 millimeters, and groundwater and aquifers supply the majority of required water for cultivation. Only 569.000 (about 5%) hectares out of the province’s total 10 million hectares are arable and thence must be systematically utilized with sophisticated cultivation techniques.

Various problems such as limited water resources in the central parts of Isfahan, Zayanderood in particular, challenge the metropolis and its agriculture industry. “We hope to avert this crisis by implementing a directive from the Supreme Council of Water that calls for reviving Zayanderood,” the AJO head noted.

Unfortunately, because of water shortage and its resultant hassles, illegal land use changes come to pass in towns of Isfahan, particularly around the areas watered by Zayanderood.  Around 2,000 lawsuits are filed annually regarding land use change, said Ghasemi.

Isfahan Province ranks first in production of poultry and milk by producing 165,000 tons of poultry and 1,088,000 tons of milk with an eight percent hike from last year.

More than 66,000 tons of red meat were produced this year in Isfahan, marking a 6 percent increase. The province is also set to rank third in egg production this year.