Under the LE 55.5-billion-initiative, the National Bank of Egypt and the Agricultural Bank of Egypt would finance existing and new agricultural cooperatives seeking to switch to advanced irrigation methods, according to a statement released by the CBE on Tuesday.

It comes as part of the State's strategy for rationalizing the use of water resources, through encouraging farmers to switch to modern and smart irrigation methods that help preserve water and increase the agricultural productivity.

The new initiative, which covers around 4 million feddans of agriculture lands, would replace a previous CBE one that was offering an interest rate of 5% for smallholders and small institutions, the statement added.

The initiative stipulates that the benefited farmers should pay the cost of transition into modern irrigation methods in interest-free installments over 10 years, the statement read.

All agriculture lands are expected to switch to modern and smart irrigation systems within three years.