Gov’t presents first package of ambitious PPP irrigation plan for farming sector

The first batch of a total 21 irrigation projects worth 1.6 billion euros were announced on Monday by Agricultural Development & Food Minister Spilios Livanos, at an event in a central hotel in Athens attended by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday.

“We are implementing a massive investment program in land-improvement infrastructure, corresponding in importance to regional development with that of airports and national highways,” Livanos said of the program, named “Ydor 2.0”.

Irrigation in particular “is one of the greatest problems for the agricultural sector, as the irrigation networks are out of date, resulting in unmet irrigation needs, high irrigation costs, waste of water and the qualitative downgrading of irrigation water,” he noted.

The 21 works revealed on Monday are split into three packages and will be constructed through Public-Private Partnerships. Their average operational life is assessed at 25 years, and their cost (operation and construction included) in the 25 years is estimated at 4.07 billion euros.

They will cover over 1.3 million stremmas (130,000 hectares) nationally, while the first 8 projects to be built are expected to benefit 36,130 farmers. The 21 works are split into three packages.

“These projects are of top significance for a country that invests in its primary sector and which wants to alleviate its farmers’ stress over the needed component of agricultural production, which is water,”PM Mitsotakis said in his address. “They mustn’t have to resort to expensive drilling, which – as you know – often carries a significant environmental footprint,” he pointed out.

Mitsotakis also referred to “wetlands created by projects built at other decades in the 20th century” that brought developmental benefits alongside. Some, he said, “became tourist destinations and destinations of particular environmental sensitivity.”