Egypt plans ‘New Delta’ to spice up meals safety

The Egyptian authorities plans to implement a megaproject to domesticate over 1 million feddans (one feddan equals 4,200 sq. meters), in a transfer aimed to spice up meals safety within the Arab world’s most populous nation.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held a gathering on March 28 to debate the implementation of the challenge dubbed the New Delta. In line with a presidential assertion, the large challenge, west of the Nile Delta in Decrease Egypt, is a part of authorities plans to create new agricultural and concrete communities characterised by trendy administrative methods.

Presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady mentioned the challenge alongside the Dabaa Axis on Egypt’s northwest coast will embody industrial complexes based mostly on agricultural manufacturing and create hundreds of recent jobs.

“The New Delta challenge is the way forward for Egypt. It is going to be applied in two years,” Sisi mentioned in statements throughout his go to to the Suez Canal Authority’s Maritime Coaching and Simulation Heart within the canal metropolis of Ismailia. The go to was a part of the Egyptian celebration of refloating the large container ship Ever Given, which ran aground within the Suez Canal on March 23.

The Egyptian chief mentioned handled agricultural wastewater will likely be utilized in cultivating the brand new lands of the challenge. “We’ll retreat our agricultural wastewater to make it match to worldwide requirements and use it within the silos in Dabaa in Egypt’s western area, which has a small inhabitants,” he mentioned.

A rustic with a inhabitants of greater than 100 million individuals, Egypt has had cultivated land of 10.3 million feddans by 2019, in keeping with the state statistics company CAPMAS.

“The New Delta is without doubt one of the large initiatives that can enhance the cultivated space in Egypt by greater than 1 million feddans,” Minister of Agriculture Al-Sayed Al-Qusair informed the native Sada Al-Balad TV. “The brand new cultivated lands will likely be planted with strategic crops equivalent to wheat, corn and greens.”

With the brand new challenge, the Egyptian authorities hopes to safe satisfactory meals merchandise for its rising inhabitants. “The challenge mainly goals to realize meals safety, fulfill the rising wants of the rising inhabitants to foodstuffs and scale back dependence on imports of strategic foodstuffs,” Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly mentioned on March 31.

In January, the Egyptian authorities unveiled a challenge dubbed Egypt’s Future for Agricultural Manufacturing to domesticate 500,000 feddans on Egypt’s northwest coast. Authorities say the challenge goals to supply high-quality agricultural merchandise at affordable costs, bridge the hole within the native market between manufacturing and imports, and supply international forex for the nationwide economic system.

Chatting with Al-Monitor over the cellphone, Nader Noureldeen, professor of soil sciences and water assets at Cairo College, believes the 2 initiatives will assist bridge the meals hole in Egypt.

“Egypt imports round 65% of its wants of strategic crops, and these two promising initiatives may help present an enormous share of Egypt’s meals wants,” he mentioned.

In line with Noureldeen, Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat, the second-largest importer of yellow corn and the fifth-largest importer of cooking oil. “Egypt additionally imports 100% of its wants of lentil, 80% of beans and 32% of sugar,” he mentioned.

Noureldeen added, “Egypt has an enormous meals hole, and these initiatives might assist obtain self-sufficiency of the nation’s meals wants and scale back by one-third the invoice of meals imports, which quantity to $15 billion yearly.”

With the completion of the challenge, the Egyptian authorities hopes to extend its agricultural exports. “The New Delta challenge is near inhabitants facilities and represents an important alternative by means of which we will enhance the Egyptian exports as a result of area’s proximity to the primary ports on the Mediterranean Sea,” mentioned Mohamed al-Qersh, a spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry.

He mentioned the New Delta challenge will create hundreds of jobs for Egyptian youths. “We’re speaking about greater than 5 million job alternatives, not solely within the area of agricultural manufacturing but in addition small and medium enterprises that serve youths and contribute to creating job alternatives for them, which can profit the Egyptian state normally,” he added.

Egypt’s agricultural sector contributes to the nation’s gross home product by 14%, representing 28% of job alternatives and 55% of employment within the countryside.

In 2020, Egypt exported 5 million tons of agricultural merchandise, in keeping with the Central Administration for Agricultural Quarantine of the Agriculture Ministry.

Sayed Khalifa, the top of the Farmers Union, the impartial guild of Egypt’s farmers, mentioned meals safety is a significant safety difficulty for the Egyptian authorities.

“Since he got here to energy, the Sisi administration has launched into a collection of nationwide initiatives with a view to reaching meals self-sufficiency whether or not by way of agricultural enlargement, silo cultivation, animal manufacturing or fish farming,” Khalifa informed Al-Monitor over the cellphone.

He mentioned the brand new lands within the New Delta challenge will largely be allotted for the cultivation of oil crops. “The placement of the brand new challenge is exclusive given its proximity to major roads, which can assure an easy accessibility of the agricultural merchandise to the native market and to export any surplus through the Port of Alexandria or airports.”

Khalifa mentioned the Egyptian authorities is constructing two wastewater remedy vegetation, every with a capability of 6 million cubic meters/day to safe sufficient water for the cultivation of the brand new lands on the northwest coast.

He continued, “The 2 vegetation will give a significant increase to Egypt’s efforts to develop within the implementation of agricultural initiatives in mild of the restricted water assets in Egypt.”

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