After stopping for more than 8 years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform restarted the national project to switch to modern irrigation with the aim of supporting farmers and covering the largest number of governorates.
Engineer Hani Hamadeh, the project manager, said in a statement to SANA that the size of the areas that were transferred to modern irrigation since the establishment of the project until 2012 amounted to 43,000 hectares distributed over all governorates, but the work stopped after that due to the terrorist war on Syria and today, after returning to work, a plan has been drawn up to cover an area 2,200 hectares with modern irrigation during the next year, and the areas are distributed in eight governorates, and they can be increased according to the available capabilities.
Hamadeh explained that the project was allocated with 22 billion Syrian pounds from the ministry’s budget for the next year, while the total number of grant decisions to farmers approved to date has reached 48 decisions, at a total cost estimated at one billion and 13 million pounds, with support of approximately 410 million pounds from the cost.
Regarding the lending mechanism to farmers wishing to implement the project on their lands, Hamada stated that there are loans in which the beneficiary bears 60 percent of the value of the irrigation network and pays it in installments for a period of 5 years, while the modern irrigation fund bears the remaining 40 percent of the loan, and there are cash loans, of which the beneficiary farmer bears 50 percent The fund is 50 percent.
As for the farmers whose modern irrigation networks have been damaged by terrorism, they can, according to Hamada, install a modern irrigation network “again” by borrowing from the National Project for the Transformation of Modern Irrigation, explaining that the interest of this loan is 10 percent, the beneficiary farmer pays 3 percent of it, and the remaining 7 percent is paid by the Development Authority and export promotion.
Regarding the work difficulties faced by companies working in the manufacture of equipment and supplies for modern irrigation networks, Hamada said that there are 46 establishments and companies approved to work with the project, but now only 7 companies are working. The ceiling for withdrawing liquidity from banks.
The national project for the transformation of modern irrigation was launched in 2007 and continued until 2012, when it was stopped due to the terrorist war on Syria.