Future of Water Governance with Iranian Agricultural Cooperatives
Future of Water Governance with Iranian Agricultural Cooperatives
The Future of Water Governance in Collaboration with Iranian Agricultural Cooperatives and Production Cooperatives, article by Dr. Hossein Shirzad.

Article by: Dr. Hossein Shirzad
Deputy Minister of Jihad-e-Agriculture, Managing Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Central Organization of Rural Cooperatives of Iran

It is not long before Garrett Hardin, influenced by one of the Victorian British economists, William Forster Lloyd, published an essay on the “Tragedy of the commons” in explaining the theory of “shared resources tragedy” and the behavior of a finite shared source of a large number of users and deciding how much that shared resource can be used. His theory was concerned with the assumptions about human motivations, the rules governing the exploitation of shared resources and the inherent characteristics of the shared resource, and the issue of personal well-being. Still, after five decades, His ecological theories inspire design settings to manage natural resource systems in the developed world.

Over the last three decades, with the gradual and widespread occurrence of water stresses and the phenomenon of climate change in the Middle East and North Africa, the issue of integrated water resources management as the most important element of production in Iran’s agricultural sector has emerged from the private arena and specialized circles. The issue of food health and food security has become a public demand today. It has been less than a decade since we realized that “integrated water resources management” needed to be put into practice a more important issue called the “water resources governance” system, with which we have not yet clarified our task. We are still embroiled in dual (government-based market-private-sector) or dichotomy (regulation-privatization), while we know of many experiences of the ineffectiveness of government rules and regulations, as well as numerous experiences of market failures. It has happened and we are not thinking about a third solution, which is to pay attention to the genuine and experienced institutions and organizations in the country’s rural life.

The aftermath of the doctrines of the Truman, in 1962 the first, second, and tenth principles of the White Revolution, which led to the separation of responsibility and water management of the country from indigenous farmers and its transfer to centralized state institutions, was a fruit of nearly six decades of public administration on water resources. The country has not had a hegemonic approach based on “supply-driven management with a structured-based approach” and recent policies aimed at “demand-driven management with a commodity-oriented approach”, with the exception of a traumatic environmental future, exacerbating the negative balance sheet. And the syndrome of irreversible clogging and death of plains, security-judicial domination, inevitable uplift, and Ridgecrest tariffs on water use, the water market is unfair and blame farmers and agriculture as the main culprit of the country’s water crisis would be followed.

The Imperial Deviance was established in the year 1971 with the passage of the Law on Cooperative Production, and the establishment of Rural Cooperatives aiming to maximize the use of the country’s water and soil resources, and the Rural Cooperatives Act of 1972 In order to move past the wrong policies, water management, irrigation, drainage, distribution management, construction and maintenance of water transmission networks should be transferred to agribusinesses, agro-industries, and rural and agricultural production cooperatives.

Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the rural production cooperatives, which consisted of 39 units consisting of 214 villages and farms and a membership of 9700 farmers, were reduced to only 20 units on the basis of the decision of the members and approved by the Ministry of Agriculture. The revitalization of joint-stock companies and rural production cooperatives began in 1989 with the approval of the   Ministry of Agriculture. At present, the model of rural cooperatives as the most inclusive model of exploitation system in the country, compared to other patterns of exploitation system, on the one hand, is welcomed by the beneficiaries’ society, and on the other hand, it is supported by the government.   Over time, the pattern has reached 1414 production cooperatives and 65 unions at the provincial and national levels in 32 provinces, 311 cities, and more than 6400 villages and Access and covers about 418,000 agricultural landowners.

The amount of agricultural land covered by these cooperatives is over 344 million hectares, including 2600,000 hectares of water and 840,000 hectares of dry land. Meanwhile, about 800,000 of the Lands under irrigation are orchards. By the end of 2019, more than 1,500 Rural Cooperatives and 34 agricultural joint-stock companies form a significant part of the country’s organized exploitation system. But unfortunately, only about 110 companies have contracts with regional water companies, so the participatory management approach to conservation and exploitation of water resources with the participation of beneficiaries (rights holders and landowners) in the form of associations and cooperatives and a policy of large-scale farmer participation. And so far at the level of operation, there has been little success, and we continue to see deep conflict, contradiction, and deep gaps between downstream and upstream catchers and gaps within the farm user community within the networks. There is a strategic contrast between the two operators Within the confines of an irrigation and drainage network, there are conflicts in the environmental sustainability of the lakes and conflicts within the farming community and the government within an underground aquifer.

Therefore, we must admit that the implementation of the water governance system and the implementation of the participatory water management project are possible through the strengthening of the real and deeply rooted agricultural trade union system, and the preparation, formulation, and preparation of guidelines, bylaws and necessary technical and administrative standards, the establishment of government and sector cooperation agreements. Private will only be possible with the presence of genuine agricultural organizations that have 50 years of Iranian rural life. On the other hand, apart from the aforementioned institutions, the Central Organization of Rural Cooperatives of Iran since the beginning of the new century, with the understanding of new developments and new participatory approaches of the agricultural sector in the process of social, economic changes of the country in recent decades, originated the emergence of various trade unions.

As a form of non-governmental structures and a symbol of public and civic institutions, these organizations have played an important role in the natural resource management of developed societies. The development and establishment of agricultural trade unions could be an important factor in orienting and creating the appropriate context for the active participation of agricultural trade unionists in their assigned roles in water resources management.

Such non-profit, non-political and nongovernmental entities cover agricultural producers and beneficiaries and, because of their pervasiveness and public nature, can play a significant role in influencing the agricultural development process. Over 992,000 people have joined the agricultural trade unions by the end of 2018. To date, 856,000 business licenses have been issued to members of the trade union based on 350 job titles, which have been identified, standardized, and classified in accordance with the International ASIC Codes. It has been organized and organized in 417 cities and 32 provinces. In addition, the organization of agricultural trade unions in the form of annual assemblies and elections was held in 2018 in 330 cities. This trend has been followed by reasonable growth in 2019.

Therefore, the agricultural trade union system is also a good platform for pursuing a variety of educational, awareness, promotion, incentive and punitive policies for the management and efficient use of water resources, emphasizing the participation of all stakeholders in the country for the sake of fair consumption, Water is optimized and recycled, and the government can naturally enhance the social acceptability of proposals by delegating non-governmental activities to the agricultural trade system, including water management and avoiding unnecessary utilities. This context and avoid any changes or abandonment of these plans by farmers and villagers, To pursue, and more than ever, the direct participation and participation of farmers in the exploitation, decision-making, management, design and evaluation of water resources-related programs.

Undoubtedly, the agricultural trade system will play a key role in sustainable development in the near future. And they will have better management of agricultural water consumption and water governance in Iran. Because of the complexity of today’s water crisis, it has become transnational. Therefore, the necessity to integrate farmers into cooperative production companies, agricultural trade systems, water companies and shareholders of agribusinesses with ecological in the water system of the country without a proper understanding of the trade and social systems Rural and pragmatic understanding of the technical aspects of water resources management cannot be achieved and without this knowledge, we cannot become a program planner to understand the conditions under which a comprehensive plan for sustainable water management in Iran can be formulated.

Therefore, we must be able to present patterns of sustainable agricultural development systems and to the sustainability of water resources by creating different formulations in different water resources management situations, different production modes, multiple cropping patterns and biodiversity of the units. Hydrologic (plains). The Inevitable Solution is Moving Towards a ‘Positive Institutionalization’ Policy Using the country’s most prestigious agricultural institutions alongside the agricultural trade union system, ‘sustainable water development’, ‘people-centered governance’, and modern corporate governance through high levels of corporate governance. Obviously, achieving these goals will require the adoption of new and progressive laws on water governance in parliament.

  • author : Dr. Hossein Shirzad
  • source : Iran News