By John Lee.
Iraq's Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Al-Khafaji, has chaired a coordination meeting to approve the country's winter agricultural plan, along with the Minister of Water Resources, Mahdi Al-Hamdani.
Due to the continuing shortage of water, the plan reduces the area allocated for irrigation by 50 percent compared with last season, with the exception of Diyala Governorate.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture told Iraqi News Agency (INA) that this means that the available water storage in dams and reservoirs is sufficient to irrigate 2.5 million dunams (625,000 hectares; 1.5 million acres) of land, compared to 5 million donums previously.
The effects of drought are becoming more severe in recent months. In a joint statement on Saturday, FAO Representative in Iraq Dr Salah El Hajj Hassan, WFP Iraq Representative Ally-Raza Qureshi, and IFAD Lead Economist Alessandra Garbero, said:
"The impact of water shortages in Iraq is becoming evident through the lower crop yields for 2021. Urgent action is required to confront climate change, working together to address the root causes.
"Reforming food systems will also help the most vulnerable communities in Iraq withstand future shocks. Resilient, modern food systems are important for long term food security and the sustainable economic growth of Iraq."
(Sources: Minister of Agriculture, UN, Middle East Eye)