Thu, 15 Apr 2021 - 10:55 GMT
A farmer in Kafr el-Sheikh, the Delta in 2020 - Egypt Today/Hussein Tallal
CAIRO – 15 April 2021: Soft loans are being offered to farmers to switch from flood to modern irrigation as part of protocols with national banks, head of the Irrigation Development Sector said Wednesday.
“Those who ask for financing are not given money, but rather suppliers provide all the demands needed by a farmer to switch to modern irrigation. This ensures earnestness,” Ibrahim Mahmoud told Youm7.
The standards and mechanisms for the loans and their payback have been determined while ensuring that payback is easy for farmers, Mahmoud said.
The Irrigation Ministry also works on raising awareness about water preservation, modern irrigation, preserving national projects and irrigation and wastewater networks, as well as reducing the cultivation of crops that need a lot of water, especially rice, he added.
On Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met discussed with top officials the transformation of irrigation into a smart system that saves water, fertilizers and maximizes yield.
The meeting involved Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, Governor of the Central Bank Tarek Amer, Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aait, Agriculture Minister Assayed al-Qasir, Military Production Minister Mohamed Morsy, and head of the Arab Organization for Industrialization Abdel Moneim al-Terras.
The smart system includes top-notch irrigation devices that measure humidity in the soil, which will indicate precisely the amount of water and fertilizers needed; hence doubling the income of a farming family.
Smart irrigation will raise the efficiency of water use, develop field irrigation, increase agricultural productivity at the level of the state.
The president emphasized ensuring the success of transformational irrigation process through concerted ministerial efforts, reducing any water wasted during transfer, lining canals and raising the efficiency of water sub-channels.
He also said farmers should be trained on operating and maintaining smart irrigation systems, and the media should raise awareness on the benefits of modern irrigation.
Egypt has already lined some 1,188 kilometers of canals. Further 4,312 kilometers are being lined, with the target for the first phase of the national project ending in 2022 at a cost of L.E.18 billion for 7,000 kilometers of canals.
For the past few years, Egypt has been in the process of reducing and treating wastewater, building dams to save the scarce rainwater, extracting underground water, and introducing smart irrigation as Ethiopia insists on the unilateral filling and operation of its Renaissance Dam without a binding agreement that ensures the protection of Egypt and Sudan from drought and floods.