Minister Ilie Sarbu: Cheap electricity supply solution for irrigation system till Monday

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development Ilie Sarbu announced that in the following days a solution will be found as for cheap electricity supply for the irrigation system, the commission established to this end, including representatives of several ministries, going to come up with a solution till Monday.
„On Monday we will have a solution as for a reduced electricity price used by the irrigation system. It is important that the Ministry of Economy accepted this option and mainly that we are not restricted in this regard by the European Union on the reason this would represent state aid”, announced on Thursday Minister of Agriculture in a press conference.
Sarbu said that the Executive approved in its Wednesday meeting the strategy on the irrigation system, expanding surfaces to be irrigated by 210,000 hectares, from 553,000 hectare to 763,000 hectares.

„We expect that in the upcoming period owners of land with agricultural crops will apply for the use of this irrigation system, mainly for corn and melon crops in the south zone of the country. 82,300 hectares were irrigated till May 25, of which 41,000 with wheat and barley”, said the Minister.
In connection with declaring emergency status, MAPDR official stressed that at present no report has arrived from the local commissions on the exact situation of the crops.
Costs for starting the irrigation system in 2009, including the extended surfaces, are up to 250 million lei.
The Minister underlined that 3.3 million hectares benefited of irrigation systems in 1989 and in 2005 just 1.5 million hectares were still covered by these systems. When I took over my mandate just 60,000 hectares were covered by the system (…)”, said Minister Ilie Sarbu.
„We must re-think the irrigation system and make an integrated one, allowing us to know in time the soil humidity and how much water we would need. Now the system is already outdated from the technological standpoint, energy consumption is very high and water is still pumped up from the Danube. The main lines also are not in a good operational order”, Ilie Sarbu also said.

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