Finally, New Year 2023 brings hope and happiness to Buffalo producers in Iraqi Southern Marshes, after nightmarish drought and thirst in 2022.
Happily, rains recently watered Central and Southern Iraq improving water levels of Marsh areas in Al-Chibayish district, as the levels reached 100-110 cm in the Euphrates basin, and in the marshes. Also, salinity levels decreased to 1500 ppm, which made it possible for people to drink this water, in addition to their animals, (according to the recent records of the Water Resources Department in the district). This has had a great positive impact, especially on buffalo producers. It represents an important shift in their lives after they despaired of water shortage and the drying out of marshes, reaching alarming levels of decline. According to Water Resources Department in Al-Chibayish, last year by end January 2022 water levels reached 22 to 55 cm, while most of marshes have dried up completely.
Today (beginning January 2023), the water levels in the Euphrates marshes have risen to a good level around 100 cm, due to the generous rainfall during the last weeks and the role of the Ministry of Water Resources in increasing the flow of water. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative for Iraq, Dr Salah el hajj Hassan, said: we wish a better year 2023 for our buffalo farmers in the Marshes hoping that the sky continues its generosity with more rains during these days and coming weeks addressing appreciation to the European Union, Swedish Government and the Government of Iraq, noting that FAO called for supporting buffalo farmers in early spring last year while with EU support and in coordination with Ministry of Agriculture and local partners feed and seed support reached more than 5000 buffalo farmers with continues efforts in introducing climate smart and sustainable agricultural practices.
(Photo Credit Caption: Eng. Ayed Sabri Youssef, MOA Extension Officer, Al-Chibayish-2 January 2023)