The area of Egypt’s reclaimed lands shrank by 36 percent in the fiscal year 2014/15 compared to the year before, the state’s statistics body CAPMAS said in e-mailed statement Sunday.
The reclaimed area nationwide in the last fiscal year registered 14,500 feddans against 22,600 feddans in 2013/14, mainly due to the reduction in the lands area allocated to agricultural cooperative associations, CAPMAS said.
The cooperative associations are non-governmental civil socio-economic units that aim to develop different aspects of agriculture and are supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation.
Eid Hawash, the ministry’s spokesman, told Ahram Online Sunday that the decrease in lands given to those associations was a result of allocating large areas suitable for reclamation to the national project to expand the country’s farmland by reclaiming 1.5 million feddans nationwide.
Earlier this month, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi celebrated the harvest of 10,000 wheat feddans in the southwestern El-Wadi El-Gadid (New Valley) governorate as part of the 1.5 million feddans project, which was inaugurated in late December.
Hawash also attributed the drop in reclaimed areas to violations that are committed against arable lands, adding “they are still ongoing.”
“There are around 67,000 feddans nationwide that face violations [illegal building], of which 18 percent have been demolished,” Hawash said.
* One feddan roughly equals one acre.