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Iraq reduces agricultural areas by 50% due to lack of water

An Iraqi fisherman makes his way through dead fish and plants in the Delmaj marsh in Iraq on 25 August 2020 [HAYDER INDHAR/AFP/Getty Images]
An Iraqi fisherman makes his way through dead fish and plants in the Delmaj marsh in Iraq on 25 August 2020 [HAYDER INDHAR/AFP/Getty Images]

An official has disclosed that Iraq has reduced agricultural areas across the country by half compared with the previous year, due to low water revenues.

"The Ministry of Water Resources has explained that the available water storage in dams and reservoirs is sufficient to meet the needs of 2.5 million dunams," a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Hamid Al-Nayef, told Iraqi News Agency (INA). He explained that the available water could only cover the needs of half the agricultural lands planted last year, amounting to five million acres.

"The decision came due to the decline in water revenues, the snow cover in Iraq and the region, and the possibility that the water decline will continue during the next winter season," he added.

Iraq will have to cover its agricultural needs by importing from abroad, although the Iraqi official did not mention the types of agriculture that would be negatively affected.

Iraq relies on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, originating from Turkey and Iran, to secure water.

For years, Iraq has been suffering a steady decline in water revenues across the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, exacerbated by low rain levels in the country.

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