Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 29
By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:
Iran's agricultural sector grew by 5.7 percent in March-September 2015, Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati said.
Despite the existing problem of water shortage in Iran, he called for boosting agricultural sector in the country.
"From the outset, our ancestors had a water shortage problem, but as a matter of fact, the production capacity of agricultural sector in our country is more than the current figures," Hojjati said in a televised interview with the state broadcaster (IRIB1).
Earlier, Esmail Kahrom, an Iranian environmentalist told Trend that the country wastes a considerable amount of water due to applying improper agricultural methods and if the current level of consumption of water continues, the country will seriously suffer from water shortage in the future.
Hojjati said that the Ministry of Agriculture purchased 4,700 million tons of farmers' surplus wheat from March 2013 to March 2014, 6,700 million tons from March of 2014 to March of 2015, while the figure is expected to reach 8,800 million tons from March 2015 to March 2016.
He also said that the country will domestically produce 70 percent of its required corn within the next 10 years.
The minister said in order to tackle the water shortage problem, the country is currently implementing a project in some regions facing water problem, under which farmers replace the products which consume much water with those that require less water.
He denied that the country has purchased wheat from foreign countries in 2015 saying that the county has just imported 300,000 of wheat which was purchased over the last years.
Commenting on rice import, he said Iran annually needs to import about one million tons of rice.
Hojjati said that the Ministry of Agriculture has reduced the area of rice farms by 120,000 hectares due to water shortage and added it is likely to reduce these areas again.