- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
204

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
204
all doubt be transformed into the most splendid
fields and gardens, with cotton, fruit, silk-groves,
tobacco, vegetables, vineyards—not to speak of
corn. This, too, did not look to be any really
impossible task. In the north they had the river
Terek, which, so far as I understood, was particularly
fitted for irrigation ; while here, farther south, there
were plenty of streams coming down from the
mountains, and water could be led from them over
the plain. For ploughing this flat land motor
ploughs could be used with great advantage here,
where they had petroleum.
One great difficulty, of course, was the malaria.
It must be fought methodically, and on this the com
missariat was quite definite. But the opening up of
the land to cultivation, and especially the draining
of the stretches of swamp, would in themselves be a
very great help in this direction ; and besides, other
effective methods could be brought into play—such as
the spraying of marshes and all standing water with
naphtha, which here, where naphtha Hes to hand,
would not cost much more than the labour needed.
As to all this the commissariat was fully agreed ;
and although they had been of the opinion that
their main resources lay in the richness of the
various minerals, they had now gone over to the
view that efforts should mainly be directed to
bringing this flat land under cultivation. But how
was this to be done? A work such as this on a great
scale, with draining, irrigation, and so forth, must
have capital, and Daghestan was a poor land that
could not make great economic efforts.

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