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Farmer Protection, Water Conservation


                            Farmer Protection, Water Conservation
One of the serious problems that the Ministry of Energy is struggling with today is the over-extraction of groundwater resources, which has led to a shortage of these valuable resources.

Intensification of this trend has led to phenomena such as plain subsidence, the creation of ditches and other problems in many parts of Iran. We witnessed the latest example of this event in August of this year in Hamadan province. It is safe to say that with the continuation of this situation in the not-too-distant future, groundwater resources will be depleted, and the consequences of this ominous event will be the closure of the agricultural sector, rising unemployment, the onset of migration and many other social tensions. To solve this problem in the country, a set of economic, social, cultural and engineering solutions must be used. Economic strategies, as they affect the livelihood and expenses of the family, usually lead to social dissatisfaction, and therefore social considerations are always the biggest factor in the realization of economic tools. Therefore, it is necessary to look for solutions that, while implementing economic solutions, also take into account the livelihood of the people. In this regard, we must first provide a brief definition of the economic value of water and then, given that the main consumers of groundwater are farmers, we must recognize the agricultural status of these two categories of water economy and farmer livelihood in a way that leads to effects Do not damage each other.

Intrinsic value of water
The water used by the consumer has two economic values; Consumer value and non-consumption value; In fact, the real price of water - the intrinsic value of water (non-consumption value) + added value of water (consumption value).

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The added value of water is the cost of extracting water and delivering it to the consumer, but the intrinsic value of water, also known as non-consumable value, is related to the value of environmental assets. In the case of farmers who use groundwater, the costs are borne by the farmer himself, but in the case of the cost or non-consumption value of water, no fiscal model applies and the intrinsic value of groundwater is now zero. Of course, there is another concept called observation; The fee is the amount received from groundwater and surface water users so that the Ministry of Energy can carry out the protection and maintenance of groundwater resources, which has been approved since the beginning of 1984 under the Law on Financing Compensation for Droughts and Freezers. Prohibited for observation.

Agriculture of Iran
Iran is one of the world's leading countries in terms of agricultural production. According to the agricultural statistics of 1994-93, about 50% of the cultivated area of ​​the country's crops is in the hands of wheat farmers. On average, about 2 tons of wheat is harvested from each hectare of land. Of course, the yield of this product varies according to the type of cultivation (rainfed and irrigated). According to the same statistic, about 39% of the agricultural land is cultivated irrigated. Global Crop Even in arid and low rainfall provinces, as well as its strategic nature, this crop will be examined as a case study in more detail.

The effect of water economy on the cost of wheat
According to the calculations provided by the government every year to estimate the guaranteed purchase price of wheat, in the 97-96 crop year, the calculated cost for the production of irrigated wheat is equal to 2.343.000 Tomans per hectare. Also, in 1996, the government guaranteed the purchase of wheat for 1300 Tomans per kilo, considering that 3526 kg of wheat is produced from each hectare of land with irrigation, so about 58.583 / 800 Tomans was paid to the farmer per hectare, which means that the farmer paid 800 per hectare. / 240/2 Tomans profit. Detailed results of the general agricultural census of the whole country (year 93) show that each wheat farmer ‌ (wheat farmer) has about 4.9 hectares of land. That is, on average, a wheat farmer earns about 11 million tomans a year just for cultivating wheat. Also, according to the above information, 5300 cubic meters of water is consumed per hectare in wheat production farms. We now assume that an amount is to be received as groundwater for extraction from groundwater. In the table below, for 3 scenarios of obtaining tariffs of 1, 10 and 100 Tomans per cubic meter of water harvest, the share of water cost in the basket of wheat production cost, the annual cost of water consumed by wheat farmers and the income of all farmers consuming groundwater in the country are calculated..

Given that farmers are mainly among the weak sections of society, when talking about the price of water and taking water from the farmer, their livelihood should also be considered. Some may argue that water should be provided free of charge in order to help farmers, who are mostly from the poorer sections of society, but if the government decides to support the farmer, it can be provided in other ways. . For example, it increased subsidies to other agricultural inputs, or increased guaranteed purchase prices, or designed and implemented sound and efficient mechanisms to eliminate intermediaries and transfer profits from brokers' pockets to farmers. It seems that if water is added to the guaranteed purchase, then in addition to the farmer not complaining about this model, water demand management will also be done; Because the farmer tries to avoid consuming more water in the production for more profit. Of course, in this model, in general, the government will not benefit, because the money that is taken from the farmer for water will be returned to him by the government in the form of guaranteed purchase of products. In case of decision to support the farmer by raising the guaranteed purchase price, the new purchase prices for wheat will be done by the government as follows.

The solution presented in this memo is only for wheat farmers, who make up a significant segment of the farming community. In the case of other crops and orchards for which the government has no guaranteed purchase, the solution is to control the distribution and supply market and create a healthy, unmediated market for farmers. Here, in exchange for water tariffs, the farmer can be granted the privilege of using the market without intermediaries and making more profit in selling products. Recently, startup models have been proposed to eliminate agricultural market intermediaries in which the farmer benefits more. As an example of saffron product, this model has been implemented in Ghaen. Therefore, by developing and supporting these innovative activities, solutions can be provided for other crops as well.