Desertification threatens food production

The FAO representative in Iran, Rao Matta, has presented statistics indicating that if the destruction of the environment continues at the current pace, the global cost of food will rise by 30% in the next 25 years.

This is an effect of desertification reducing food production capability. Keeping the current pace, global food production will fall by 12% in the next 25 years which leads to increase in prices. Mr Matta added that by 2030, global trends such as an increasing population as well as an increased demand for energy, food and water will place considerable strain on the environment.

FAO predicts that the demand for food will increase by 50%, energy will increase by 45% and the demand for water will increase by 30%.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mahmoud Hojjati, giving a speech after FAO representative, also added that in Iran, 95 million hectares of land are faced with desertification. This area is equivalent to 58% of Iran’s total land.

In response to environmental activists criticizing the waste of water in the agriculture sector; Mr Hojjati stated that the entire blame cannot fall on the farmers. “In some provinces, the entirety of water resources are dedicated to the industrial sector”, said Mr Hojjati. “By improving watering methods, we have increased efficiency in the agriculture sector by 25%”.

The Minister of Agriculture of Iran emphasizes on the importance of the quality of the soil. “Although critical, water is a renewable source yet the value of soil is often forgotten”, added Mr Hojjati.

He suggests that the reduced dependency of livestock on feeding off pastures could be a factor in reducing the destruction of the environment.