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Slovak farmers fear new fees for irrigation water

The need to irrigate for crops is expected to increase because of global warming.

(Source: Sme)

Slovak farmers do not irrigate land when growing crop or vegetables in any extensive way, and the irrigated acreage may further decrease as the Environment Ministry proposes a new fee for irrigation water.

The Environment Ministry proposes the fee at €0.01 per cubic metre arguing that Slovakia needs to charge for irrigation water in order to draw EU funds in several programmes.  

“The opinion of the Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber is that the fee being introduced is another of costs that farmers bear due to necessary irrigation of agricultural plants,” Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber (SPPK) spokeswoman Jana Holéciová said.

Irrigation in Slovakia

During the communist regime irrigation was supported by the state. After the change of the regime also the scheme of support of irrigation changed too and as a consequence the usage of existing irrigation facilities decreased. This led also to less investment into existing irrigation facilities and they became obsolete.

SPPK estimates that currently 22 percent of arable land in Slovakia is secured with irrigation facilities owned by the state company Hydromeliorácie. Out of total 464 units of irrigation facilities farmers rent 195 built on 169,000 hectares. Hydromeliorácie estimates that farmers have built their own irrigation facilities on an additional 10,000 hectares.

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