President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated a number of state projects on Saturday, including a complex of 1,300 greenhouses on an area of 10,000 feddans in Marsa Matrouh, part of a nationwide agricultural project.
El-Sisi also opened a factory in Marsa Matrouh for packaging agricultural products, in addition to a complex for seed production.
The area of each greenhouse is estimated at 3-12 feddans, the director of the National Services Projects Organization (NSPO), Mostafa Amin, said at the inauguration ceremony
Sixty-five percent of the Marsa Matrouh project’s total 10,000 square kilometres has been cultivated so far, he said.
The rest of the entire area is to be cultivated as per a planned land classification timeline.
He said that productivity of the site is estimated at around 184,000 tons of vegetables annually.
The Marsa Matrouh project, which is the second phase of the nationwide project, has provided more than 15,000 various job opportunities for the youth in the El-Hammam area, he said.
The nationwide project, which is being carried out with the National Company for Protected Agriculture, comprises 100,000 feddans of land in several locations around the country, including Hammam in Marsa Matrouh governorate, 10 Ramadan City on the outskirts of Cairo, Abu Sultan and El-Amal village in Ismailiya governorate, El-Lahun village in Fayoum governorate, El-Fashn city in Beni Suef governorate, and El-Adwa in Minya governorate.
Amin stressed the importance of expanding greenhouses for several kinds of crops, and of rationalising the available freshwater resources in the country in order to meet increasing demand.
He said that total freshwater resources currently available are estimated at 80 billion cubic metres [per year], and that 79 percent is used for agricultural purposes.
Greenhouses help rationalise the consumption of irrigation water and the use of land plots, he said.
In normal greenhouses, water consumption is 40 percent less than that in open fields on the same area, doubling productivity.
High-tech greenhouses rationalise 80 percent of irrigation water, with productivity estimated at four times that of open fields, he said.
Work is underway to establish 7,853 greenhouses on a total area of 87,500 feddans in the governorates of Ismailiya, Fayoum, Beni Suef and Minya, he said, to complete the remaining phases of the greenhouse project.
"When the greenhouse project is completed in 2021, more than 1.5 million tonnes of vegetables will be produced on an annual basis, and more than 300,000 direct job opportunities will be provided," Amin said.
The NSPO head also lauded what he described as the fruitful cooperation offered by several state bodies to help carry out the project, including the ministries of agriculture, irrigation, electricity and energy.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, El-Sisi stressed the importance of coordination with the agriculture ministry, chambers of commerce and with businessmen in order to control the Egyptian market’s mechanisms.
He said that the state is working to control market mechanisms via increasing the supply of products, adding that this does not prevent coordination with businessmen and others working in these sectors.
El-Sisi described population growth as a challenge facing the state, and said that the state had therefore tried as hard as possible to choose areas with large numbers of people to set up such projects.
The president called for the finalisation of the El-Mahmoudiya axis road project in Alexandria within two or three months, saying that it would help to achieve welfare in the governorate.
He also underscored the importance of relocating El-Hadra market to a suitable area.
The director-general of the Spanish company Roviba, Jose Antonio, said El-Sisi had fulfilled his pledges to the Egyptian people, asserting that Egypt under El-Sisi’s leadership has achieved a real industrial and technological revolution in less than three years.
He pointed to El-Sisi’s opinion on protected crops, noting that the world’s countries recognise the success of such projects.
He said these projects have a social impact at all levels, adding that food prices are decreasing in the local market and foodstuffs are available throughout the year.
Also in attendance at the ceremony was Defence Minister Mohamed Zaki, speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel-Aal, and the presidential aide for national and strategic projects Sherif Ismail, along with a number of other senior officials.