1.5m acres project targets increasing agricultural land by 20%: Prime Minister

Mohamed Ayyad
4 Min Read

The 1.5m acres reclamation project targets increasing the total agricultural area by 20%, from the current 8m acres up to 9.5m acres, and to turn Egypt back into a major agricultural country, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said.

Ismail said, in a press statement Monday evening, that the project aims to reduce the food gap, and increase populated areas by establishing new urban communities.

The prime minister held two ministerial meetings on Monday to study the project’s latest developments. The meetings were attended by the Ministers of Housing, Irrigation, and Agriculture, along with the Head of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, Kamel Al-Wazir.

A management company will be established for the project in accordance with a comprehensive economic perspective. The company will be responsible for all matters related to the project, such as setting up the governing rules for allocating and distributing lands between young farmers and investors. It will be also responsible for managing, maintaining and developing the project’s infrastructure.

It is expected that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will authorise the project’s implementation by the end of December 2015. The project is part of a series of national projects adopted by the state, such as the East Port Said project, the National Roads Project, the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant, and petroleum projects and natural gas discoveries, according to the cabinet’s statement.

Regarding the institutional context to manage the project, Ismail said it will be by establishing an investment zone affiliated to the General Authority for Investments and Free Zones (GAFI). This zone’s administrative council will manage all the development areas targeted by the project.

The administration council will include representatives from the bodies involved in the main activities to be practiced in the region, the authority responsible for the lands, alongside representatives from authorities licensed to develop in the zone and investors.

A company will also be established, which will be responsible for establishing, developing, managing the investment zone as well as marketing for it. In addition, it will determine in-kind contributions in the company’s shares in accordance with the fair value of the land transferred to the project company, as well as the cash contributions’ shares from the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), national banks and others.

The Prime Minister also noted that the project will follow the latest techniques and modern methods of irrigation, and will depend on solar energy. He explained that the project will cover large areas in eight governorates: Qena, Aswan, Minya, New Wadi, Matrouh, South Sinai, Ismailia and Giza.

The company’s administrative department will issue conditions of contracts to project beneficiaries, including a timetable for land reclamation operations, the debut of production from a specific area of the allocated land in order to prove seriousness.

The conditions of contract include complying with the terms of payment and focus on increasing export crops to provide foreign currency, as well as compliance with technical conditions provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, in addition to the specifications set by the Ministry of Irrigation regarding the project’s wells.

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