The ground-breaking ceremony for a Turkish-sponsored irrigation project in Northern Cyprus was held on Wednesday.
The project, which consists of a 5.7-kilometer (3.5 mile) tunnel for supplying water to farmlands, is being added to current water supply facilities from Turkey to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Under the new project, about half of 75 million cubic meters of fresh water sent annually through an existing underwater pipeline is expected to be used for irrigation purposes.
"The irrigated water to be transported to the TRNC will be a significant contribution to the TRNC's development while also helping conserve its existing resources," Turkish Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said in the Turkish Cypriot coastal town of Girne, at the ceremony for the TL 184 million ($34.8 million) project.
He added that more irrigated farming would create agricultural job opportunities.
Expected to enhance the range of produce grown on the island, the project is set to add an annual TL 100 million ($18.9 million) to the Northern Cypriot economy and expand its agricultural sector by 20 percent.
Since 2015, Turkey has been delivering fresh drinking water to Turkish Cyprus via an 80-kilometer (50 mile) pipeline from Alaköprü Dam in Turkey's Mersin province on its eastern Mediterranean coast to the TRNC's resort town of Güzelyalı.
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