FAO, Japan Help Iranian Farmers Raise Water Productivity in Lake Orumiyeh Basin
- September, 23, 2022 - 15:15
- Society/Culture news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) joined hands with the governments of Japan and Iran to help the local farmers in northwestern Iran carry out a new program to increase water productivity and ensure sustainable income.
Funded by the government of Japan with the aim of saving water in Lake Orumiyeh basin and, at the same time, improving farmer livelihoods, the project has started its new phase of pilot interventions. FAO’s initiative focuses on using innovative approaches that lead to direct participation of local farmers.
FAO believes that the co-development of an action plan or roadmap in cooperation with the volunteer farmers in the project pilot sites is needed for better implementation of water productivity interventions. In this regard, a series of meetings with farmers are conducted in the pilot site in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province to apply the GAIN (Governance, Autonomy, Integration and Needs-based) methodology. GAIN is designed to put farmers in charge and to hold the workshops that enable the farmers to discuss, debate and participate in the details of the action plan.
It is a cooperative program that includes all parties, from farmers to the government, researchers, and the private sector. The farmers in the field decide as a group on a set of practices, solutions, and alternative measures for better water management at a pilot scale. It aims to improve water management and ultimately result in tangible water productivity at the regional and sub-basin levels.
In the final scene of the scenario, local authorities, experts, ministries, and even private sectors are informed, and the intervention plans will be shared to present the pilot interventions for validation and government endorsement. Furthermore, the GAIN workshop, held in Balanej Dehestan, is a fitting spot to improve climate-resilient agriculture practices.
“The project considers it vital to demonstrate the benefit of engaging with and explaining to the farmers the co-benefits of improved crop and water management on their livelihoods and the restoration of water balance with Orumiyeh Lake,” Said Aziz Elbehri, senior economist at FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said.
“This assignment, co-development of pilot interventions with farmers ensures that solutions at the farm/field level are understood, accepted, and embraced by farmers around the UL Basin. Farmers need to be brought in as part of a sustainable solution to Orumiyeh Lake’s long-term health and viability,” he emphasized.
Kamran Zeinalzadeh, director of Orumiyeh Lake Research Institute (ULRI), indicated that regarding the implementation of the “Co-development of pilot interventions with farmers for water saving and livelihoods preservation under the Orumiyeh Lake Restoration Program”, Orumiyeh Lake Research Institute has formed a group of experts in irrigation and water resources management, hydrology, agriculture, horticulture, extension and economics.
“One of the main problems in agriculture is the lack of an integrated management system, and the participation of local farmers is needed for its success. The main purpose of this participatory planning is to encourage the farmers to co-develop the barriers and offer practical solutions, which finally leads to better water management in agriculture,” said Sina Besharat, university professor and lead facilitator.
“With the participation of FAO, universities, agencies and farmers, I definitely believe this project could be one of the most successful of its kind in the country and will deliver operational effective outcomes,” he stated.
Known as the lead UN agency in promoting climate-smart approaches in agriculture and natural resource management, FAO supports member countries to develop and implement climate-resilient agriculture.