Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Abdel Moneim El Banna – File Photo
CAIRO – 16 September 2017: Minister Abdel Moneim El Banna said that Egypt had lost 80,000 feddans of its agricultural area since 2011 due to illegal constructions, in a TV interview on Friday. He added that the amendments to Agriculture Law passed by the parliament in July, increased penalties to LE 500,000 ($28,342) fines and 10 years of imprisonment per feddan, which had decreased violations.
Long official holidays are considered by violators as an opportunity to build upon agricultural lands. Similar attempts occurred on 28,000 feddans (28,672,000 acres) during the five-day Adha Eid holiday early September, but were foiled by the ministry of agriculture and land reclamation.
The minister added that the state had built a database of all violations and encroachments on lands, and those incidents were communicated with governors to take legal action.
El Banna stated that the ministry had started studies of all areas where the “1.5 feddan project” will be executed. That mega project for reclaiming desert land will create two million jobs, and fulfill Egypt’s needs for food as part of the import-substitution policy adopted by the state.