Rice farmers in the areas of Salahiya, Mhanawiya and al-Shamiya in Diwaniyah province staged protests June 25. To express their plight caused by the drought, protesters lifted a coffin carrying a farmer holding an ax.
The farmers' protests denounced the Ministry of Agriculture's June 17 decision to ban the planting of eight summer crops: rice, white and yellow corn, sesame, cotton, millet, sunflower seeds and mung beans. The ministry claimed this is due to the reduced water levels of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
In a related context, a government decision was issued June 12 to suspend the cultivation of rice in Diwaniyah province. The decision was allegedly attributed to water scarcity and the allocation of water only for drinking and gardening purposes. Prior to that, in 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture had reduced the area allocated for the cultivation of rice in the province of Dhi Qar, in the south, to half of the proposed area.
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