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Iran invests big to boost agricultural mechanization


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XINHUA, 14 July 2017

The Iranian government will speed up agricultural mechanization by allocating more funds, Financial Tribune reported on Thursday.
About 395.5 million U.S. dollars will be invested in agricultural mechanization in the current Iranian year, which ranges from March 2017 to March 2018.
The investment is 25 percent more than that of the past year, said the head of the Agricultural Mechanization Expansion Center with the Ministry of Agriculture.
"About 211 million dollars, 80 million dollars and 40 million dollars will be allocated to the fields of farming, horticulture, livestock and poultry respectively," Kambiz Abbasi said.
He added that "20 million dollars will be invested in fisheries and seafood, and 10.5 million dollars in medicinal herbs."
Since President Hassan Rouhani took office in August 2013, a total of 1.38 billion dollars of investments have gone into the mechanization of different fields of agriculture, said Abbasi.
According to the report, the share of mechanized rice farming has risen from 12.5 percent to 80 percent over the past four years.
"The incumbent government has invested a record high of about 156 million dollars in the mechanization of rice production," Abbasi said.
Mechanization has helped lower costs of production and harvest and increase productivity, he said, adding that rice production in 250,000 hectares of paddy fields have become automated over the past four years.
The volume of agricultural waste in Iran is twice the global average. Currently, up to 30 percent of agro products go to waste in the country during the pre-harvest, harvest, post-harvest and supply stages.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, 1.3 billion tons of food, mainly fruit, vegetables, fish and grains, are wasted globally every year and Iran is responsible for 2.7 percent of it, equal to about 35 million tons of the total sum.
Old machinery is the main culprit contributing to agricultural waste, which is said to cost Iran's economy over 5 billion dollars annually.
Last year, Iran imported renowned brands of rice planting machinery, heavy tractors, combines and orchard tractors, Abbasi said, adding that most of the imports came from Germany, Italy, France, South Korea and Japan.
Iranian government has also plans to invest some 870 million dollars to modernize irrigation systems across the country this year, Iranian Deputy Agriculture Minister Alimorad Akbari said.
14 July 
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