According to a report issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, the total illegal agricultural land reclaimed was 8,625 acres in all governorates from 25 January 2011 until 3 December 2017, with the number of illegal agricultural land reclamation cases registered at 189,753.
The government succeeded in reclaiming only 2,398 acres of the total area and failed to remove violations on an area of 6,226 acres, or around 75% of the total registered violations, the report stated. Dakahlia governorate ranked first in the number of violations on agricultural land, with a total area of 1,414 acres, followed by Beheira governorate with a total area of 1,325 acres, while the governorate of Kafr el-Sheikh came third with a total of 1,170 acres.
Moreover, the report pointed out that Gharbia governorate ranked fourth in terms of violated agricultural land, with a total area of 737 acres, while Minya governorate was fifth with a total area of 664 acres, followed in sixth place by Sharqiya governorate with a total area of 558 acres, while Fayoum occupied the seventh spot with around 405 acres.
Egypt’s imports of agricultural products constitute 24% of the country’s total imports. They mainly include wheat, maize, sugar, and meat. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Egyptian economy relies heavily on the agricultural sector for food, feed, fibre, and other products. Egypt’s agricultural sector employs around 30% of the total labour force and contributes approximately 17% of the GDP.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi launched, in December 2016, a project aimed at expanding Egyptian agricultural land by 1.5m acres. This project will expand Egypt’s prospective agricultural land by 20%, from 8m to 9.5m acres, in order to reduce the food gap and increase the populated area through the creation of new urban communities.