Sisi stresses the importance of conserving water and increasing cultivated lands

Ahram Online , Saturday 25 May 2024

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi emphasized during the inauguration of agricultural projects in the South Valley region on Saturday the necessity of achieving maximum crop production using as little water as possible.

Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi
A snap shot of the President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi Speaks during the inauguration ceremony of agricultural projects in the South Valley region on Saturday 25 May, 2024.


El-Sisi pointed out that in Upper Egypt there are 300,000 feddans of sugarcane plantations that have consumed a large volume of water for several years.

He suggested that using the same amount of water the state could use the same area to cultivate beets for sugar production and plant 700,000 feddans.

He stated, "should we wait until the water problem becomes severe? We must treat this crisis as a current reality, not a potential future issue."

Egypt's annual share of water has dropped to 500 cubic metres per person, half of the 1,000 cubic metres per person that the United Nations define as the water scarcity threshold.

El-Sisi's remarks came during the inauguration of several development projects in the South Valley region via video conference, including the first stage of the Toshka project and Toshka's main water lifting stations. He also oversaw the inauguration of the harvest season for crops cultivated on half a million feddans of land in the South Valley.

The area belongs to the National Company for Desert Land Reclamation and Cultivation, affiliated with the National Service Projects Organization (NSPO).

In recent years, the NSPO successfully revived the Toshka Project by completing the infrastructure and overcoming all obstacles.

In 2017, the NSPO reclaimed 25,000 feddans, which were expanded to 400,000 feddans by January 2024.

Around 70,000 feddans were reclaimed and cultivated by local and foreign private sector companies, led by the Emirati company "Al Dahra." The total cultivated area in Toshka has reached half a million feddans.

The Toshka Project focuses on cultivating several strategic crops, primarily wheat, corn, and barley, as well as some economic crops such as peanuts, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, and medicinal and aromatic plants.

The project aims to complete the reclamation and cultivation of an additional 150,000 feddans in the Toshka area this year, bringing the total cultivated area to between 600,000 and 650,000 feddans.

The inauguration was attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki, along with several ministers and high-ranking officials.

Power cuts

El-Sisi called the ministers and the media to communicate openly with the public about all issues and problems facing the Egyptian society above them the electricity reduction issue as an example.

The president said that the reduction of electricity loads could be avoided but the electricity bills for citizens would be tripled.

El-Sisi asked Mohamed Shaker, the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, to explain to the public the reasons for the load reductions, adding, "This does not mean we are increasing electricity prices," he added.

Egypt began its load-shedding programme in July 2023 to alleviate the mounting pressure on the country's gas network, strained by rising temperatures and the use of air conditioners. 

In October 2023, the Egyptian government extended the duration of the daily power cuts, driven by increasing temperatures and a decline in gas imports.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi noted previously that the country could save EGP 108 billion ($3.49 billion) annually through the plan.

Short link: