Construction work in Sharm el Sheikh in preparation for the COP- photo from the South Sinai Governorate
CAIRO - 1 November 2023: In a significant move towards boosting Egypt's agricultural sector, the government has embarked on a land reclamation project in the Sinai Peninsula. This project is set to add an impressive 400,000 acres of arable land to Egypt's already vast agricultural landscape.
The initiative comes at a crucial time, following recent global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which have highlighted the importance of agriculture on a large scale.
Ashraf Kamal, an agricultural economics professor, emphasized the significance of reclaiming land in the Sinai Peninsula for Egypt's agricultural development. Sinai comprises 6 percent of Egypt's total land area, making it a massive and underutilized resource.
The reclaimed land, along with water infrastructure and other large-scale projects, will not only boost the agricultural sector but also contribute to the settlement of the local Bedouin population, ultimately enhancing food security in Egypt.
Sinai's unique geographical location offers a wide array of economic opportunities, ranging from tourism to agriculture, industry, and mining. When combined with industrial and tourist development projects, Sinai has the potential to transform into a thriving region with millions of inhabitants, moving away from its previous image as an uninhabited desert.
Numerous reputable studies conducted in Sinai have reflected the enthusiasm of its residents for these projects. These initiatives are expected to have a far-reaching impact on various aspects of life, including education, healthcare, and more.
As part of the development and reconstruction plan for Sinai, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has set a goal to complete the reclamation of 600,000 acres in Sinai by the end of the current year. Mohamed El-Shahat, the head of the Land Reclamation and Agricultural Development Authority, revealed that the land in Sinai is pristine and free from agricultural chemicals, making its produce suitable for export.
El-Shahat highlighted that Sinai already cultivates 250,000 acres of crops, some of which are exported, including citrus fruits and frozen strawberries. The region is now targeting the cultivation of strategic crops like wheat and soybeans, thanks to its stability and security, which are expected to attract agricultural investment from local residents.
Nagy Ibrahim, the head of the North and South Sinai Development Agency, noted that development initiatives in Sinai have been ongoing since 2014. The construction of tunnels and bridges has significantly improved connectivity between Sinai and the rest of the country. The government aims to fill the geographical gap in Sinai with a population of approximately 3.5 million people through various development projects.
The land reclamation project in Sinai represents a pivotal step towards enhancing Egypt's agricultural sector and overall economic development. With its diverse economic potential, positive impact on the local community, and government support, Sinai is poised to undergo a transformative journey from an underutilized desert region to a thriving hub of agriculture, industry, and tourism.