The Ministry of Agriculture announced on Friday 1,354,322 cases of violations on agricultural fields since the 25 January Revolution in Egypt, across 59,422 acres.
In a report published by the ministry’s department of fields’ protection, the violations included land desertification, and constructing on agricultural lands inside rural villages and along highway roads.
“Violations on agricultural lands threaten our food security and there will be no tolerance with those who ruin those lands,” announced Minister of Agriculture Salah Helal.
Only 7% of reported violations on agricultural lands were resolved by the ministry on 12,790 fields, the report noted. .
The ministry said it is currently outlining a bill to eliminate those violations and will penalise the illegal builders by stopping public services such as water and electricity. It will also form committees to constantly follow up on the lands to counter future occurrence of those violations.
Illicit residential buildings cover green fields all along the ring-road highway that connects several districts of the city. Egypt ranked first among countries with the largest rate of desertification of green fields, according to a UN report. Security unrest in the wake of the 2011 protests has made it easier for squatters to build stealthily on the agricultural fields.
The administrative authority arrested an agricultural ministry official in May for corruption acts on lands he managed in the Port Said governorate. A month earlier, three employees in the Haram district authority in Cairo were sentenced to five years in prison, on charges of corruption and issuing permission for demolishing a building that is built on an agricultural land without the approval of the agricultural directorate of Giza.