President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi (Photo: Al Ahram)
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.