Hundreds apply for new farming technology

Farmers in Najaf look to modern irrigation tools to plant wheat in the desert

NAJAF, November 7 — Nearly one-thousand farmers in Najaf governorate are preparing to plant wheat in the desert, using modern irrigation equipment and wells to compensate for drought losses.

Deputy Governor Hashem Al-Karaawi said in an official statement, “More than 1,000 farmers in the governorate have submitted their requests to the local government to plant desert lands in Najaf with strategic crops, covering an area of 63,000 dunums, using pivot irrigation technology and relying on well water.”

Al-Karaawi said the local Agriculture Directorate has provided 65 pivot irrigation systems with capacities of 60 and 80 dunums, to be distributed among the farmers interested in irrigating their lands, which will be planted with wheat and barley crops. The systems will be sold through a lottery system and with convenient installments to support the transition to modern irrigation techniques that reduce water consumption in the midst of the drought crisis the country is experiencing.

He also pointed out that wheat cultivation in Najaf’s western desert has been successful in the past two seasons. This success is attributed to the use of modern crop irrigation technologies and the availability of groundwater in these areas, prompting many farmers to turn towards desert lands for cultivation and production of various agricultural crops.

The success, Al-Karaawi stressed, requires serious government support to maintain and develop. “This support should include enhancing the capabilities and efficiency of farmers in modern agriculture, as well as providing the electrical power that consumes about 50 percent of the agricultural production costs,” he said.

He also emphasized the need to expand and develop the Ministry of Trade’s warehouses and silos in Najaf to accommodate the expected increase in wheat production for the current year. Wheat production in Najaf reached 193,000 tons in the previous season, which was the highest recorded in the governorate’s history.