Egypt will prioritise impoverished upper Egypt and the Western Desert in its “one million feddan” land reclamation megaproject, Egyptian television reported Wednesday.
The reclamation of vast areas of land for agriculture was one of the cornerstones of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s presidential campaign in the country of 90 million that relies heavily on imports of basic foodstuffs. Currently less than four percent of Egypt’s total land area is arable.
The west of Upper Egypt’s Minya governorate will be home to 420,000 feddans (or acres) out of the million that the government has set out to develop, while 116,000 feddans will be located in Farafra in Wadi El-Gedid governorate in the country’s Western Desert, Egyptian TV reported after a cabinet meeting on the matter Wednesday.
The third priority area for reclamation will be Toshka in Upper Egypt, home to an attempted agricultural megaproject in the Mubarak era which stalled due to poor planning and management but which El-Sisi has expressed a desire to revive.
The state will create a public company to be the master developer of the national project, and start laying the utilities, basic infrastructure, roads and housing necessary for each area to develop.
Last month, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Salah El-Din Hilal said that 26 companies had signed agreements and cooperation protocols with the government, during the country’s investment conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, to reclaim 670,000 feddans.
The 16 Egyptian companies plan to reclaim 200,000 feddans, while 10 Arab and foreign companies would take charge of 470,000 feddans, said the minister.
Source: Ahram Online