The government has banned rice farming in regions facing water shortage, according to Seyyed Alaeddin Khadem, a member of the agriculture committee of the Majlis (Iranian Parliament).
Mr. Khadem, who represents Sepidan county in the southern province of Fars, said rice growers in the northern Gilan and Mazandaran provinces, where there is no water shortage, were allowed to plant their crops.
According to Khadem, Iran’s National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) has taken the emergency measure to preserve underground water reservoirs in regions facing water scarcity. He said that affected rice farmers must find substitute crops to grow to prevent a complete collapse of the agriculture industry in their areas.
According to earlier indications by Isa Kalantari, head of the Department of Environment, agriculture uses 85 percent of the fresh water in Iran. Natural fresh water reservoirs can meet the demands of only 50 million of the country’s population. According to Kalantari, the current water reservoirs are well below the 36 million cubic meters that Iran requires to meet its agricultural needs.
[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]