Balkh facing acute shortage of irrigation water
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Agriculture officials say the most serious issue farmers face in northern Balkh province is scarcity of irrigation water.
Provincial agriculture and livestock director Katib Shams told reporters the agriculture sector in Balkh could not be developed until the problem of the lack of irrigation water was not resolved.
He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a gathering marking the National Farmer Day in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital.
Farmers from 14 districts of Balkh attended the gathering and put on display agricultural products at an exhibition.
Shams said the arable land in Balkh had 30 square metres water per second, but the required level was 400 square metres per second, something that needed serious efforts to resolve the issue.
He said flowing water in Sholgar river alone could not irrigate agriculture land in the entire province.
The director said to resolve the issue of irrigation water scarcity, rain and floodwaters needed to be preserved and the Qush Tapa canal rehabilitated.
He said if the canal was rehabilitated, it could irrigate 2.5 million jirbs of land in the entire north and could produce enough electricity.
The exhibition showcased different agricultural products, mushrooms, improved quality seeds, food items and agricultural equipment.
Koh Tor Agriculture Company official Hafeezullah Hafeez, who had his company’s products showcased at the show, told Pajhwok Afghan News that they were trying to medically and technically assist farmers in increasing their production.
He said they had put on display various kinds of irrigation machines and medicines that improve production.
A farmer from Baba Yadgar area of Nehr-i-Shahi district, Malak Mohamad, told Pajhwok Afghan News said in addition to lack of irrigation water, chemical fertilizers were also difficult to be found in Balkh.
He said farmers were unable to find good market for their products and thus compelled to use substandard fertilizer. He said the government should assist farmers in this regard.
Shams said 273,000 jirbs of land in Balkh was under irrigation, but only 180,000 jirbs was cultivated each year due to the lack of irrigation water.
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