Turkish irrigation plan goes awry

26 February 1999

Turkish irrigation plan goes awry

TURKISH efforts to revitalise agriculture of the south-east of the country through an irrigation scheme have hit a number of problems, reports the Financial Times.

The irrigation comes courtesy of the £20 billion Anatolia project (GAP), which principally aims to generate electricity.

But power cuts have dogged efforts to start up the local agro-industries that are essential to the GAPs efforts.

Another threat to the GAPs success is a build-up of salt from the excessive water used by the farmers, which could ruin the land.

The director of the project hopes a sharp fall in cotton prices will persuade farmers to grow less of it, and thereby devote their energies to less thirsty crops.

But this will generate another problem. Turkey reckons it will need only 5% of the additional produce, making the Middle East and north Africa targets for food exports.

Trade with both blocs is difficult for either political reasons or else is prohibited by United Nations sanctions.

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