Drought and fires threaten the palm groves in the south of Al-Ahwaz
Arson, as well as the drought, have resulted in the destruction of vast areas of date palm groves in Southern Al-Ahwaz and the death of tens of thousands of date palm trees.
On 5/28/2015, reliable sources reported that extensive fires devoured roughly ten hectares of date palm groves in the Southern Ahwazi town of Bastak in the province of Hormozgan which resulted in the destruction of 8 thousand of date palms.
On 6/6/2015, another fire in the same town occurred resulting in the destruction of 1100 date palms in suspicious circumstances which have remained unexplained as of yet.
The villagers of this city accuse government parties of the fires after the villagers refused to sell their land to a Persian merchant. Their suspicions were aroused by the re-occurrence of fires coupled with the government hush-up on the matter and its inability to expose the real cause of the fires.
The drought has resulted in the destruction of 6 thousand 8 hundred hectares of date palm groves in the governorate of Minab of Southern Ahwaz which amounts to 50% of all palm (total palm date grove areas is 12000 hectares)date groves in this governorate. As a result, palm date production dropped from 52 thousand tons to 30 thousand tons in the Minab governorate which is catastrophic for the palm date industry.
The occupation authority has purposely neglected the palm date industry and has not ensured areas planted with palm. It ensures no more than 1750 hectares of palm date groves in the entire area of Hormozgan.
The drought has also caused the destruction of 50 thousand palm date trees in the governorate of Dashtestan County in Southern Ahwaz. Reports from the Dashtestan County show that there is a danger of losing another 50 thousand date palms if the responsible authorities do not take the measure necessary to counter the crisis which is increasing day after day.
The palm tree growers in the Dashtestan governorate have called on authorities to initiate a quick response to save the date palm industry otherwise the livelihood of thousands of families based upon date palm growing will be jeopardized.
On June 3 of this year, the "Ahwazna" website revealed that the Persian occupation authorities declared a ban on date palm growing in the Bushehr region in Southern Ahwaz. The ban was allegedly due to the drought, and it has no time limit, and Ahwazi citizens were warned of the dire consequences of not abiding by it.
The occupation state has required that the agencies responsible for agriculture and water circulate this decision among Ahwazis warning them of the severe reprimands if they do not comply.
In light of this Shahpur Rajaii the director of the ministry of water resources in the Bushehr stated: “We will uproot every date palm tree planted, and we will severely punish every person who does not comply with our decision”.
Although the occupying state claims that the drought is behind its decision however facts point to ulterior motives. On 24/12/2014 the "Ahwazna” website revealed that Persian occupation intends to build four dams on the Tamim and Malih rivers. The construction of these dams have recently been completed as these dams death are ready for implementation.
Ahwazis believe that these inhumane racially discriminatory decisions are meant to strip Arabs of their livelihood and force them to voluntarily leave their land.
Date palm growing is a primary source of subsistence for many Ahwazis. The amount of land under date palm cultivation in Southern Ahwaz (Bushehr) is 72 thousand hectares producing around 315 thousand tons of dates per annum. In the Dashtestan County alone there are over 4 million date palm trees producing more than 120 thousand tons of dates per annum.