5 May 2021

Irrigation of steppe is a guarantee of the state’s export income

Most of the Ukrainian agricultural business is concentrated in the hands of farmers in southern Ukraine. For them, an important condition for obtaining stable yields and, as a result, high profits, is the use of irrigation systems.

The Black Sea coast and the Azov region are considered to be a zone of risky agriculture. In summer, the air temperature in the local steppes reaches 40 degrees, and on the ground – 50 and above. Experts warn that part of the southern territories in the second half of this century could turn into a semi-desert. Due to climate change in 2020, 10-15% of crops have already been affected by drought in Ukraine. In monetary terms, the losses are estimated at 2.5 billion hryvnias.

Therefore, this year the President of Ukraine chooses the development of irrigation as a national priority for investment. The Prime Minister of Ukraine, at a meeting on the restoration of irrigation in the southern regions, noted that it is necessary to identify facilities that will be modernized within the pilot projects and will attract investment funds for their implementation. At the same time, international partners also agreed to provide credit resources for the development of melioration in Ukraine.

Farmers also understand the importance of this issue for the agro-industrial complex of the South. For example, in the Kherson region, some farmers, in addition to irrigated land, also use not-irrigated land (“bagori”), which produces drought-resistant grains. However, the same maize on rainfed land in the southern region gives a yield of 0 to 40 c / ha, and on irrigated land, the average yield is 100-120 c / ha. Farmers see by their own example how much the annual gross income of the farm in the cultivation of grain crops is in the presence of irrigation.

That is why the organizers of the Southern Development Strategy Forum plan to send forces to the agricultural sector to accelerate the implementation of related projects. These are the restoration of lost irrigation and retrofitting of the Perekop Canal and construction of new queues of Kakhovka and Sirogoz canals, increasing the capabilities of Ingulets and North Rogachytsk irrigation systems.

The Ingulets system, for example, once gave large-scale rise growing in Tavria. And although the state has lost almost half of its rice systems with the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the total number of such fields in mainland Ukraine is growing every year. And thanks to the investment, it will be possible to purchase the necessary machinery and new equipment for technological operations in rice farming.

In March, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine registered a bill that would be key for farmers in southern Ukraine and create legal mechanisms for safe investment in reclamation infrastructure. Therefore, the Black Sea and the Azov Sea regions already have a chance to develop the agro-industrial business to the European and global level. The willingness of many countries to invest in the water complex of southern Ukraine determines the real prospects for the implementation of projects to restore irrigation systems.

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