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Over 50% of Gilan Paddy Fields Damaged

RASHT, Iran, August 22,1999 (IRNA) -- Agriculture experts of Gilan Province in northern Iran announced that due to drought more than 50 percent of the total 215,000 hectars of paddy fields in the province have been partially or completely damaged. Experts say the recent precipitation came too late to be of any benefit to the lands under cultivation.

The experts forecast rice production to be 150,000 tons less than the previous year yield and reach only half a million tons. Experts estimate the damage inflicted by the draught in Gilan Province on cultivation of rice to be at least 2,400 billion rials.

Public Relations Director of Gilan Agriculture Organization Farhad Davachi said more than 92,000 hectares of paddy fields have been edamaged between 30 and 80 percent. Davachi added that up to now 30,000 hectars of paddy fields have been completely destroyed. Farmers of Gilan too have voiced their concern and said that this was the most difficult year for cultivation and rice growers are not in favorable economic conditions.

Farmers of this northern Iranian province said that because of draught and incurred expenses for drilling water wells, they have to sell rice at cheaper prices to merchants.