Egypt racing against time to add 3.5 mln feddans of agricultural land, says Sisi

Ahram Online , Wednesday 15 Mar 2023

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced on Wednesday that the country is actively working to increase its agricultural land through a land reclamation program aiming to cover approximately 3.5 million feddans.


The programme -- which includes agricultural projects in the New Delta (2.2 million feddans), Toshka (1.5 million feddans) and middle Sinai (460,000 feddans) -- has remained unimplemented in the country for 40 years, the president stressed.

El-Sisi was speaking at the inauguration of the Nitrogen Fertiliser Complex in Ain Sokhna, one of the country's projects to expand its agricultural land, decreasing reliance on crop imports amid soaring prices.

President El-Sisi stated that reclaiming 3.5 million feddans – equalling nearly one third of the existing agricultural land countrywide – requires time, effort, and "considerable" cost.

"This is not a simple project," he added.

He stated that such projects require "large" quantities of water and fertilisers, and that is why the country inaugurated the Nitrogen Fertiliser Complex, which took years to be inaugurated. 

​"Some people ask why the state is uninterested in industry, [but] to implement industrial projects we need a lot of time, effort and cost. A project like that [Nitrogen Fertiliser Complex] costs around $800 million, excluding land and facility prices," the president explained.

El-Sisi went on to say that projects like those in the New Delta and Sinai require the establishment of "giant" plants and stations to collect and treat agricultural wastewater, underground water, and seawater, which also costs "huge" amounts of money, in addition to the needed infrastructure for these projects.

He stated that establishing industrial ventures to meet local needs and export surplus would take time, noting that the state had prioritised providing electricity and gas in past years.

"How could I implement these projects if I don’t have electricity and gas?" El-Sisi added.

"We are racing against time to prepare the 3.5 million feddans to enter into service soon," he added.

He pointed out that the government is working tirelessly to bridge the food gap in the country, but the issue of overpopulation remains.

He also instructed the government to raise public awareness about ongoing projects and suggested organising tours for students to visit them.

The Nitrogen Fertiliser Complex is an area consisting of six mega factories, producing nitrogenous fertilisers. The project is being implemented by ThyssenKrupp AG, a German industrial engineering and steel production multinational conglomerate, in partnership with Egypt's project.

The total production capacity of the factories is up to 1.7 million tons of phosphate, potassium and nitrogen fertilisers a year, serving the agricultural sector in Egypt. The surplus in production will also be exported to nearly 56 countries.

El-Sisi expressed his confidence that the complex will produce fertilisers for the 3.5 million feddans by the end of this year and the coming year.

Today's event was attended by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister of Defence and Military Production Mohamed Zaki, in addition to a number of other ministers.

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