State of farmers deteriorates in 2010, says rights report

Marwa Al-A’sar
3 Min Read

CAIRO: The state of Egyptian farmers has deteriorated significantly in 2010, according to a report released Tuesday by the Land Center for Human Rights.

“The data and conclusions mentioned in the report have been reached through the farmers’ complaints to the center, field visits by the center lawyers and published news reports,” the center’s director, Karam Saber, told Daily News Egypt.

“It was prepared over the first six months of 2010 to reflect on the deteriorating state of farmers in Egypt,” he added.

Farmers have been facing several problems that had a negative impact on their productivity, such as irrigation water deficiency and pollution, land degradation, high prices of fertilizers and lack of productivity-linked incentives, the report said.

The 120-page report pointed out that the cooperative sector as a social and an economic system no longer has any effective role after being influenced by free-market policies.

According to the report, which is part of a series of publications entitled “The Land and the Farmer,” around 160 disputes have erupted in the countryside, most of which were over ownership of land.

A total of 130 people were killed and 1,234 others injured, while 850 were arrested during these disputes, which represent an indicator of the hardships farmers have been liable to, the report noted.

According to the report, infrastructure services have witnessed severe decline and there is a 60 percent increase in unemployment rates and 75 percent increase in poverty rates.

The report recommended the amendment of the law regulating the relationship between land owners and the tenants to define the rental duration, fair fees and a minimum of adequate income for the farmer.

Moreover, the report called for facilitating enough water for irrigation of all lands.

In addition, the Land Center for Human Rights called on the authorities to halt the imprisonment of farmers who could not fulfill their dues, to call off fines and interests on loans less than LE 100,000 and to deduct 75 percent of original sum of loans over LE 100,000.

The report also called for allowing farmers to freely practice political activities and be allowed to form associations to protect their rights independently of the state.

Furthermore, the report urged the government to put an end to violations committed by public institutions against farmers and enabling them to own the lands they had been cultivating for decades.


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