30 November 2018
In occasion of the 8th meeting of the GIAHS Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), from 28th to 30th November 2018, 1 new agricultural system in Islamic Republic of Iran were approved and designated as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems:
Grape and grape- based Production System in Jowzan has a long history. This system has provided a better life situation for local people, a distinct opportunity for tourists, and a unique platform to boost rural economy.
Farmers use Qanat, well, river and other sources of water. Farm management practices are of traditional type and grape processing is done using traditional methods and tools.
Production process, history, higher yield per hectare, skill of gardeners in producing grape products, and sugar level of Jowzan Valley grape in comparison with grape of other parts of Iran, are the factors that make grapes and raisins of Jowzan Valley different from other parts of the country. These are the reason why consumers prefer grapes and the products which produced in the area.
The grape production system has long history, at least 800 years, and has achieved higher yields compared with other grape production areas in the country thanks to not only favorable soil, water and climate, but also high levels of skill and experience in grape production. The yield is twice as high as other parts of the country. The same factors also enable grapes to have higher sugar content. Another unique feature of the system is uniform structure of vineyards that reduce production costs and facilitate management of vineyards.
Food and livelihood security
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for most people in the area and grape is the most important product. Almost all the households in the area have vineyard and more than 90% of villagers’ income in Jowzan Valley depends directly or indirectly on grape and raisin production. Especially since raisin has longer value chain than grape, its importance is higher than grape in terms of job creation. Processed products of grape can be consumed in all seasons, and include various types of minerals, sugars, acids and vitamins. Local people produce many kinds of products, such as raisin, grape syrup, jam. In addition, the area has higher grape yield compared with other parts of the country.
With long history of vine cultivation, the area is rich in genetic resources. A research center in the area has approximately 130 varieties of vine under cultivation.
Local and traditional knowledge systems
Most farmers use a traditional method for growing grapes, which is crawl method. For water management, farmers irrigate grapes five times during growing season every 12 to 15 days until August 11th to help grapes ripe. They adjust dates of irrigation depending on how grape leaves look and determine if vineyards need water or not. Local people also keep livestock as their secondary job and supply dairy and meat products. There is mutually beneficial relationship between husbandry and grape production; on the one hand, weeds and pruned leaves from vineyards are consumed by livestock, on the other hand, livestock provides manure, which increases organic matter content of soil, fostering growth of grapes.
Cultures, value systems and social organisations
Because of diverse agricultural activities, farmers have created various economic organizations in which farmers have cooperated in managing water, dragging rivers, maintaining qanat and springs, preparing lands for drying grapes. The area is famous for its carpet, and the pattern and the design of the carpet are inspired by natural beauty and vineyards. Local people produce materials, such as leaves of grape trees and walnut shell, which are used as dye for carpets.
Landscapes and seascapes features
Since almost all families living in the area own vineyards and all villages are located close to each other, color of the region changes through the seasons from green to yellow, light brown and white. The color changes of landscape is a result of production stages of grapes in vineyards. It changes its color from green, yellow, and brown after harvest and during raisin processing.