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Egypt's Sisi to launch 1.5 million feddan project in late December

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Dec 2015
Sisi
President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi (Photo: Al Ahram)
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Egypt's President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi is set to launch by the end of December a project aimed at expanding Egyptian farmland by 1.5 million feddans, Prime Minster Sherif Ismail announced on Monday.

"This project will expand Egypt's prospective agricultural land 20 percent, from eight million to 9.5 million feddans," Ismail said in a press statement.

"The project aims to reduce the food gap and increase the populated area through the creation of new urban communities," he added.

Earlier in 2015, an official in the Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry announced that the project includes digging over five thousand water wells for a total cost of LE6 billion ($766 million), with 600 wells to be drilled in different areas of Egypt's Western Desert, including Wadi Moghra in Munkhafad Al-Qattara (the Qattara Depression), the Toshka region and the Farafra oasis.

Since El-Sisi took office more than a year ago, he has announced ambitious plans to drive economic growth through megaprojects.

Following the inauguration of an expansion of the Suez Canal in August, El-Sisi announced that the government will focus on the industrialisation of the canal's corridor and agriculture land reclamation.

The agriculture sector constitutes 17 percent of Egypt’s GDP.

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ayman
15-12-2015 07:34am
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overdue
The 1 million faddan land reclamation project is one of the most important projects of Mr. Sisi's presidential campaign. Unfortunately it has been delayed for over a year now. Just as important is to combat building on already fertile land. I just hope the piece of land to be reclaimed in Qattara depression does not become a future impediment to the Qattara hydro-electric project.
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Neo
15-12-2015 12:49am
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Who would manage the farms?
Increasing Agriculture by 20% is an ambitious and welcome news. There are many important questions, which need to be answered, if not in a project plan, at least in clear (realistic) terms for the Egyptian people to understand and get behind: (1) how the Egyptian youth will participate in this project. (2) how the private sector will manage this project. (3) What is the role of the government, hopefully very limited. (4) what is the role of the Army, ideally zero. (5) will the farms be developed by small private LOCAL firms or mammoth international mega-farms. (6) what is the impact on import reduction, job creation, and potential export. (7) what is the investment needed, and more importantly the sources. More questions but space is limited, just publish the project plan, if one exists, beyond the soundbites.
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