Egypt to receive $100 mln World Bank loan to modernize irrigation

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CAIRO: The World Bank approved Thursday a $100 million loan to support Egypt’s Farm-level Irrigation Modernization Project (FIMP), according to a statement.

The project aims to increase agricultural profitability and improve access to higher-quality water for around 140,000 small-scale farmers on 200,000 feddans in Mahmoudia, Manaifa and Meet Yazid, located in the Nile Delta, the statement read.

“This project represents an important step in improving the efficiency of irrigation water use in the Nile delta," said A. David Craig, the World Bank’s country director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti.

"The bank’s objectives in the agriculture and irrigation sector aims to support the government’s efforts to improve the management and efficiency of the use of land and water resources," he added.

According to the World Bank, while its contribution to GDP is falling, Egypt’s agriculture sector employs 30 percent of the workforce and supports 55 percent of the population.

The first component of the project supports “marwa (farm-level ditches) and farm-level irrigation modernization” in the selected areas, “where branch canal and mesqa (tertiary channels that receive water from branch canals) improvements have been carried out or are currently ongoing.”

The second component aims to raise awareness among farmers on the latest land improvement and crop production technologies.

In line with Egypt’s Strategy of Sustainable Agricultural Development 2030, part of a longer-term national program to modernize irrigation on 5 million feddans, "the project includes a new approach to the delivery of services by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation that is based on working with farmer’s groups on participatory planning and project implementation," said Julian Lampietti, the World Bank Project Task Team leader.

Hani El Sadani, the World Bank Project co-Task Team leader, said that it will also “contribute to the development of the local private sector through the local contracting of services and works to upgrade the power grid and modernize the on-farm irrigation systems.”

In March, the World Bank approved a loan worth $30 million for Egypt’s Second National Drainage Project.

Also on Thursday, the World Bank approved a $330 million loan for Egypt’s railways project, which will be used to finance the modernization of signaling along the Beni Suef-Assiutline, between Alexandria-Assiut.

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