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Farmland irrigation to make Ukraine 'world's granary'

Staff Writer |
Ukraine has a potential to become a "granary of the world" if it implements a series of projects to enhance irrigation of its fertile soils, the country's Agriculture Minister Taras Kutovyi said.

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"With the restoration and the development of irrigation systems, Ukraine has prospects to increase its grain production to 100 million tons per year and to boost its food output to the amount sufficient to feed between 400 and 500 million people," Kutovyi was quoted as saying by the government press service.

This year, Ukraine will start a major overhaul of its irrigation network, Kutovyi said, adding that by 2021, the East European country plans to install new irrigation units over an area of at least 500,000 hectares.

The implementation of the projects would require between 1.5 billion U.S. dollars and 2 billion dollars in investment, the minister said.

Currently, less than 2 percent of Ukraine's arable farmland of 32 million hectares is covered under irrigation.

Last year, Ukraine has become one of the world's big grain producers, harvesting 66 million tons of crops.

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