Economy, Domestic Economy

Date Palms Could Vanish in 2 Years

Date Palms Could Vanish in 2 YearsDate Palms Could Vanish in 2 Years

Depleting groundwater levels and increasing amounts of saline water threaten date palms in southern Iran, IRNA reported on Saturday, citing the chairman of the National Assembly of Agricultural Associations

“The seepage of seawater from the Persian Gulf to adjacent rivers in recent years has caused the water to become saline,” said Masoud Asadi.

Date palm crops require fresh water to produce good quality dates, he noted, warning that saline water could cause palm crops in southern cities of Abadan and Khorramshahr (Khuzestan Province) to dry out within the next two years.

Iran is among major date producers in the world.

Referring to the precious and world famous wetlands in the south, Asadi also warned that the wetlands, which play a significant role in protection of migratory birds, are on the verge of extinction due to prolonged droughts and increased temperatures.

He furthermore pointed to the issue of land subsidence, which he said was a result of diminishing subsurface water in many parts of the country.

Citing a shortage of funds as the biggest issue facing the agricultural sector, he blamed the previous governments for failing to boost agricultural investment, which eventually led to pushing farmers to use land and water excessively in an attempt to generate more profits.

He called on the government to facilitate the use of modern irrigation methods that would optimize water consumption. He particularly urged the energy ministry to train farmers on how they can efficiently consume water.

Experts believe the agriculture sector has been ignored to a large extent in Iran in recent decades, as the government and the private sector have both focused on oil and gas industry.