Agriculture Neglect Creates Problems

Agriculture Neglect  Creates ProblemsAgriculture Neglect  Creates Problems

Food security will be the most important issue globally in the next 20 years. Unfortunately, at present the country’s focus is on industrial development and agriculture sector has been neglected, says Prof. Parviz Kordavani, father of Iranian ‘kawirs’ or deserts.

The development of towns and villages does not mean elimination or reduction of water share for the important agriculture sector, he said.

It may be recalled that in the month of August, there was a proposal to ration water in 12 city urban cities. However, with the implementation of “erroneous measures’’, including reducing water share for agriculture and excessive digging of wells, urban water rationing was averted. Thus, by diverting agriculture water share, the move to ration water supply to the 10 major cities was checked till the end of the summer season. In Tehran, water rationing was prevented by digging 70 wells and also transferring water from Varamin county, inTehran Province, reports IRNA.

Another wrong measure that has been taken was “buying water share of the agricultural sector for industrial consumption. The strategy has resulted in agricultural stagnation, which is a far greater crisis,” the university professor noted.

Unfortunately, the agricultural water diversion “is now being used for carwashes, washing streets and drains and to create urban lawns.”

The process of setting up urban lawns should be halted. Air pollution is not a good reason to expand lawns in urban areas; instead industrial pollution should be strictly monitored. Water shortage and agriculture stagnation is far more serious than air pollution, he said.

 Rural Life Threatened

Following agriculture stagnation, 200 Sistan-Baluchistan villages have been deserted. At one time the “attractions” of urban living, used to tempt villagers to leave their rural homes, but now unemployment is forcing them to migrate.

Agriculture stagnation is threatening rural life and over the past few years, several thousand villages across the country have been abandoned. In fact, 72 percent of the country’s population now lives in urban areas, according to the Supreme Provincial Council.

At present 11 villages of Marand county’s 17 villages in East Azarbaijan Province, have been deserted and more than 300 villages in the vicinity of Hamoun wetlands wear a haunted look.

The villagers’ in Sistan-Baluchistan were the sentinels of the country’s south-eastern borders. Now they have shifted further away from the border areas and are living in unofficial settlements around metropolitan cities.

 Social Impacts

Since most villagers survive and sustain on agriculture and animal husbandry, their livelihood largely depends on access to water supplies; therefore, curtailing agriculture will lead to further unemployment in rural areas, forcing them to migrate to urban regions in search of greener pastures.

Secondly, it will exacerbate suburbanization and slum growth, leading to negative consequences particularly in the social and health sectors.

Since most villagers cannot afford the high cost of housing in urban areas, it results in growth of unofficial settlements and slums in city fringes and outlying areas.

Slums lack even basic services including sanitation, potable water, electricity and adequate housing. They are overcrowded, unhealthy and in hazardous locations and often face insecure tenure and social exclusion.

Further, since slums remain isolated from the rest of the urban society, the inhabitants also exhibit pathological social symptoms including drug abuse, crime, vandalism and other deviant behavior. The lack of integration of slum inhabitants into urban life reflects both social and cultural barriers.

According to available figures, slums and outlying areas, due to the unfavorable environmental conditions as well as disparate social and cultural behavior, are the country’s most crime-prone areas.