Egypt undertakes ambitious land reclamation scheme
The Egyptian ministry of water resources and irrigation is following an ambitious scheme to expand the country’s arable lands from the current eight million feddans to 11.4 million feddans (14,280 square kilometers) by the year 2017, Minister Mahmoud Abu Zeid stated.
The minister added that the Egyptian government is committed to providing the financial and human resources necessary to support the national project, considered a necessary condition for the country’s development, Al-Ahram reported.
The initiative is expected to cost a total of 300 billion Egyptian pounds ($65.5 billion), of which the government plans to finance up to 20-25 percent, while the rest will be derived from local and foreign private sector direct investments into infrastructure, construction, industry, agriculture and tourism projects.
Reclamation projects are undertaken in the southern and northern parts of Egypt and in the eastern Sinai Desert. A third of these reclamation projects involve land in the Tushka and East Oweinat areas, west of Lake Nasser, known as the South Valley.
Egypt’s total arable land has increased by 80 percent since the turn of the previous century. However, considering Egypt’s fast growing population, the area of cultivable land available per person in fact declined by 75 percent during that period.
The total arable land currently available in the Arab world is estimated at 1.98 million square kilometers. However, only 50 million of this total is actively cultivated at present, while just ten percent of the total farmed land are irrigated. — (menareport.com)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)