The United Nations has taken June 17 of each year as the International Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. And given the importance and seriousness of this phenomenon, Iraq is one of the countries that suffer from this phenomenon, because it has gone through difficult conditions due to the scarcity of rain and the lack of its water, which contributed to the desertification of many agricultural areas, including in the province of Karbala.
The al-Abbas's (p) holy shrine presented a living model for investing parts of the Karbala desert, turning its sands into lush green oases, through a number of large and strategic projects implemented in the desert. One of its most important goals was to combat desertification and drought that devastated the country and Karbala in particular, and to contribute to increasing green spaces by planting a number of agricultural crops, trees and vegetable fruits, which contributes to achieving food security and restoring the national agricultural identity.
The plan developed by the Holy Shrine in this regard resulted in the establishment of a number of projects on thousands of desert acres, including:
- Al-Saqi Project: The area of the land allocated for it is about (10 thousand) dunams, equivalent to 25,000,000 square meters.
- Al-Firdaws Project: The area of the land allocated for the project is about (1,186) dunums, equivalent to 2,965,000 square meters.
- Al-Awali Project: The area of the land allocated for it is about (50,000) dunams, equivalent to 125,000,000 square meters.
- Al-Mu'alla Project: The area of land allocated to it is (20 thousand) dunams, equivalent to 50,000,000 square meters.
- The farms of Al-Kafeel Company for General Investments, with an area of more than (400) dunams, which is equivalent to 1,000,000 square meters.
These projects were planted with wheat, barley and vegetable crops, in addition to palms of rare varieties, as well as agricultural crops included in the transformative food industry such as industrial potatoes, in addition to the work of three to four lines planted with evergreen trees as natural buffers for winds and dust storms surrounding each project. For the irrigation, modern drip and sprinkler irrigation systems are adopted, through the use of groundwater and solar energy sources.
On the other hand, in the same context, the al-Abbas's (p) Holy Shrine worked to restore and rehabilitate the Green Belt Project, which is one of the important projects in the Karbala Governorate, because it works to improve the environment of the province and eliminate the phenomenon of desertification, and acts as a natural buffer and barrier between residential neighborhoods and the desert areas, with a length of about (27) kilometers and an area of an estimated (270,000) thousand square meters.