Gonabad’s traditional irrigation system is now registered as the 55th system of agricultural heritage by FAO.
The site located in Iran’s central plateau features a unique way to produce nutritious foods and spices using traditional knowledge and skills while improving local people’s livelihoods and preserving biodiversity, a report by FAO says.
Gonabad’s saffron farms are now designated as cultural heritage based on a number of criteria, including, global importance, value as a public good in terms of supporting food and livelihood security, agro-biodiversity, knowledge systems, adapted technologies, cultures, and outstanding landscapes.
Gonabad is located in Iran’s central plateau that has an arid and semi-arid climate. Severe water shortages in the area pose major threats to food security and livelihoods of local communities.
However, proper use of water resources supplied by the Qanat (or aquaduct) irrigation system and production of high value-added products, especially saffron, have created a unique opportunity for farmers and residents of the region to improve their livelihoods.