An unusually bad drought has forced Iraq to suspend the cultivation of rice, corn and other cereals that demand large amounts of water, the agriculture ministry said Monday.
‘The agricultural plan for the summer’ was modified ‘because the quantities of water needed for these cereals are not available’, spokesman Hamid al-Nayef said.
‘The ministry does not take this decision light heartedly,’ he said, adding that cereal crops would no longer be grown without authorisation from the ministry of water resources.
Rice is a staple of the Iraqi diet.
Nicknamed the ‘land of the two rivers’ due to the presence of the Tigris and Euphrates, Iraq has for years seen its water resources decrease.
Beyond this year's dramatic lack of rain, experts say a central reason for Iraq's creeping drought is the regional sharing of its water resources.
Neighbouring Turkey and Iran in recent years have both rerouted cross-border water sources they share with Iraq.
The start in late June of Turkey's controversial Ilisu dam on the Tigris river is expected to bring a new blow to agriculture and livelihoods across the country.
The dam has provoked anger and concern across Iraq's agricultural community and from Iraqi authorities, already facing social unrest over chronic electricity shortages across the country.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Qatar scores on ‘well-being’, moves up in SEDA rankings
Lebanon exhibits drones used in alleged Israeli attack
Iran warns of response to any strike
Dozens of children die in Liberia school fire
Iran leader rules out talks with US ‘at any level’
Saudi oil output to be restored to normal by September-end
France to press to drop Sudan from blacklist
Iran says diplomacy only solution to Syria crisis
Counting begins in Tunisia’s presidential election