Ukraine seeks to restore irrigated agriculture

Ukraine plans to restore irrigation systems on an area of one million hectares in the southern part of the country in a bid to increase agricultural output in arid regions, the Agriculture Ministry said March 6.

Ukrainian farmers used to cultivate about 2.5 million hectares of irrigated land in the Soviet era, mostly in the southern regions of Kherson and Crimea, but after 22 years of independence the irrigated area fell to 400,000 hectares.

“The overall irrigated area is expected to rise to 1.4 million hectares in two years,” the ministry said in a statement.

Ukraine uses irrigated areas to produce grains and vegetables.

The ministry said the government planned to issue $2 billion in state guarantees for future investments to implement the project.

The former Soviet republic, one of the world’s leading agricultural producers and exporters, plans to increase its grain harvest to at least 50 million tonnes this year from 46.2 million tonnes in 2012.

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