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EghtesadOnline: Estimates show a total of 1.5 million cubic meters of timber will be produced in Iran by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2022), says the manager of Agriculture Ministry’s “Wood Farming Project”.

“Last year [fiscal 2020-21], as part of measures taken to reach the goals set in the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan [2017-22], we planted fast-growing trees on over 50,000 hectares across the country, mostly in the northern provinces where precipitation is relatively higher and there is no need for irrigation. About 70% and 30% of these lands went under the cultivation of cottonwood and eucalyptus respectively,” Kamran Pourmoqaddam was also quoted as saying by the Young Journalists Club.

This year, he added, fast-growing species will be planted on over 40,000 hectares across the country, starting in winter. 

“At present, with the amount of fertilizers and other raw materials that we have at our disposal, and depending on the weather conditions, we can produce an average of between 20 million and 30 million saplings per year. This will meet part of the country’s demand for wood and paper production but it is not at all sufficient. To arrive at a point where we can say we procure most of our timber demand, there is need for private sector businesses to invest in the industry and help the country realize its dormant capacities,” he said.

The official noted that the Agriculture Ministry aims to expand Iran’s wood plantations by 300,000 hectares within the next 10 years. 

“Since Iran is an arid country with low precipitation levels, we have to carefully assess where these plantations should be undertaken in the country. Based on the studies conducted so far, the northern provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan have the capacity to have a further 70,000 hectares of cottonwood plantations where they will be rain-fed,” he added.

Pourmoqaddam noted that in other areas, plantations will be located in places where they can use wastewater from factories, animal farms, slaughterhouses and industrial parks.