Egypt expands reclamation of arable land to grow strategic crops

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Thu, 09 Apr 2020 - 05:39 GMT

Women’s ownership of agricultural land would increase through clear policies – CC via Pixabay/vuesduciel

Women’s ownership of agricultural land would increase through clear policies – CC via Pixabay/vuesduciel

CAIRO - 9 April 2020: "President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi directed the government to expand the reclamation of arable lands nationwide to grow strategic crops," said Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement on Thursday.

The president announced this decision in a meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Al-Sayed al-Qusseir, the presidential adviser for financial affairs, and the director-general of the National Projects Authority of the Armed Forces.

"President Sisi has been updated on a number of agricultural projects," Radi added.

"Over the past 8 years, Egypt has lost 8,014 feddans of arable lands due to 1.9 million cases of encroachment and violations," said the Central Department for Land Protection at the Ministry of Agriculture in a report issued in August 2019.

The encroachments include illegal construction on the Nile’s banks and Delta, unlicensed fish farming, as well as industrial waste and other forms of pollution. Since January 2015, the ministry, in cooperation with the concerned security bodies, has launched a campaign to remove violations detected by the government on the Nile banks.

In January 2018, Egypt passed a law that toughens the penalty imposed on the violators, who could face up to 2-5 years in prison and a fine ranging between LE 100,000 (US$ 5,648) and LE 5 million.

"Egypt’s agricultural lands covered 10 million feddans (one feddan equals about 1.038 acres) in 2015, compared to 9.6 million feddans in 2010," the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) noted in a report issued on September 19, 2016. According to the World Bank data, Egypt’s agricultural areas on the country’s whole land increased to 3.6 percent in 2015, compared to 2.6 percent in 1961.

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