News Archive
July 2024

Pioneering Initiative to Promote Sustainable Agriculture Using Mechanical Rice Transplanters in Najaf [EN/AR]

Under the patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Abbas Jabr Al-Maliki, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Najaf Directorate of Agriculture and with support from the Ministries of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Najaf Governorate Council, organized a field event for rice planting using a package of technologies including mechanical transplanting in Al-Mishkhab district.

These activities are part of the Project “Enhance climate resilience of vulnerable agriculture households in Southern Iraq through the promotion of climate smart water management and good agriculture practices in selected value chains” funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The project aims to rationalize water use and improve productivity to adapt to conditions of water scarcity and climate change.

The event was attended by the Deputy Minister of Water Resources, FAO Iraq Representative Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan and the FAO Project team, General Directors of Horticulture and Agricultural Extension Departments at the Ministry of Agriculture, Governor’s Advisor for Agricultural Affairs, the President of the Union of Agricultural Associations, and many rice farmers.

The event aimed to highlight the benefits and advantages of the mechanical transplanting approach, most notably water saving and cost-effectiveness of agricultural inputs such as seeds, pesticides, and labor costs, in addition to reducing pollution. Compared to traditional planting methods entailing the use of relatively large amounts of water and seeds, mechanical transplanting achieves numerous benefits. These include saving approximately 25% of irrigation water, reducing seed usage by at least 75%, pesticide usage by 95%, and herbicide usage by 80%. Additionally, it reduces labor costs and ensures high uniformity in growth, which enhances productivity, and provides high flexibility to adapt to weather fluctuations at the start of the planting season.

In this context, Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan stated, “This initiative represents an important step towards promoting sustainable agricultural practices in Iraq. The use of mechanical transplanting will significantly contribute to saving water and agricultural resources, thereby enhancing farmers’ ability to adapt to climate change.” The representative of the Ministry of Agriculture added, “We are committed to supporting modern agricultural technologies such as mechanical transplanting through our cooperation with the FAO, as they provide practical solutions to the challenges facing agriculture in Iraq, especially concerning water scarcity.”

The partners have finally agreed on the importance of establishing appropriate mechanisms to utilize the transplanters available from the Ministry of Agriculture to expand the use of these agricultural technologies. This agreement aims to ensure the continuity and sustainability of using mechanical transplanters, contributing to improved agricultural productivity and reduced resources consumption.

This initiative supports several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 2: Zero Hunger, by enhancing food production efficiency; SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, through the sustainable use of water resources; and SDG 13: Climate Action, by promoting practices that help farmers adapt to climate change impacts. QR Code

Published Date: July 7, 2024

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