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Watermelon Exports “Unfeasible”
Economy, Domestic Economy

Watermelon Exports “Unfeasible”

Water-intensive farming in light of dwindling underground water resources is not economically feasible, a local agro-economist said, as reported by Eghtesad News. “Exporting water-intensive crops such as watermelon is equal to exporting water at cheap prices,” Kouhsar Khaledi said, calling for a review of export-pricing for these crops. Farmers receive water subsidy that makes farming cheaper for them. However, the crops are exported at cheap prices that does not serve the interest of the country, he added.  Although not against subsidy support for farmers, Khaledi said, long-term policies are needed to earn the real price of water consumed in farming.  He called for a review of watermelon farming to identify alternate crops that can be produced using less water with higher returns. The expert admitted the importance of non-oil export development for the country but noted that export-oriented farming should inflict the least damage to the soil and water resources and at the same time, bring back high returns.  “Farmers should be encouraged to employ more efficient farming methods,” he added.

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