Gabon’s Foreign Minister Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo (L) with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) on the sidelines of the preparatory meetings of the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on February 8, 2019- Press photo
CAIRO – 8 February 2019: Egypt eyed planting rice, one of the basic commodities for 90 million population, in Gabon after the Egyptian government shrank the cultivated areas of rice due to water shortage it faces.
In his meeting with Gabon’s Foreign Minister Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo on the sidelines of the preparatory meetings of the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed the possibility of allocated joint lands in Gabon to cultivate rice, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement.
Egypt has turned into rice importer following the governmental measures reducing the rice-cultivated areas; on May 21, 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified amendments to the Agriculture Law No. 53 of 1966, per which the government will determine the areas to cultivate certain water-intensive crops such as rice and sugarcane.
The cultivated areas will be shrunk in the coming seasons as a result of water scarcity, given that one feddan of rice consumes 7,000 cubic meters of water. Egypt needs at least 105 billion cubic meters of water annually to cover the needs of more than 90 million citizens. However, it currently has only 60 billion cubic meters, of which 55.5 billion cubic meters come from the Nile and less than 5 billion cubic meters come from non-renewable subterranean water in the desert.
During the Friday meeting, the both foreign ministers also tackled the bilateral cooperation in woood industry as Egypt aims to establish a wood factory in the Egyptian Economic Zones (EZones) in Suez governorate, the statement added.
Shoukry also extended his congratulations to Abdu Razzaq Guy Kambogo for assuming the post of Gabon’s Foreign Ministry in January, the statement said.