Iraq rice farmers to get extra power
Baghdad, June 29, 2011
Rice farmers in central Iraq will get extra power to help them irrigate their fields and save drought-threatened crops, a government spokesman said.
"The ministry of electricity has ordered power supplies from 3 am to 11 am from mid-June to October 10 in the areas of Najaf and Diwaniya where rice is cultivated to support the national economy," ministry spokesman Musab Al-Madar was quoted as saying by an AFP report.
Iraq has suffered repeated years of low rainfall for the past decade and a half, leaving the third of the population that lives from farming dependent on irrigation to water their crops.
Madar said the extra hours would be in addition to the eight hours of power a day the areas already get.
The successive years of drought have led to a sharp fall in the acreage of rice planted.
"In Najaf province... it used to account for 50,000 hectares under cultivation, but in recent years only 17,250 hectares have been cultivated," provincial agriculture official Zuhair Abdel Razzaq Ali said.
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