Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hani Sweilam; met with Nasr El-Din Haj El-Amin, representative of the FAO in Egypt, Walid Hassan, Senior Natural Resources Officer at FAO, and Naglaa El-Bendary, project coordinator and irrigation expert, to discuss the executive procedures for the “Enhancement of Water Productivity in Agriculture” project.
The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the FAO funded by the Japanese government.
During the meeting, the advisory work accompanying the project was reviewed through the joint study between the National Water Research Center and the Japanese Tottori University to develop the best methods to deal with the challenge of fragmentation of agricultural ownership in Egypt.
The meeting emphasised the importance of expanding the formation of water user associations on the developed courses to participate in planning and design and implementation in preparation for them to receive, manage, operate and maintain those waters and the modern irrigation network later, and contribute to dealing with the challenge of fragmentation of agricultural ownership.
Sweilam stated that the ministry is making outstanding efforts to improve the water management process, maximise the yield from the water unit and increase crop productivity in light of the important interdependence between water and food, explaining that the expansion projects in modern irrigation systems achieve this goal through rationalizing the use of water and increasing crop productivity, which is reflected in the increase financial return for farmers.
He added that the project is integrated with the ministry’s strategy, which includes the transformation of modern irrigation in sandy lands, sugar cane farms and orchards, and the implementation of development works for watering cans by converting them into pressurized pipes with a single-lift system with the use of solar energy as an energy source in line with the policy of the state towards expanding the use of environmentally friendly renewable energy.
The minister stressed the need to provide the necessary training for engineers and technicians in the ministry and for farmers with regard to the implementation, operation and maintenance of modern irrigation networks in a way that guarantees the sustainability of modern irrigation projects while setting the necessary criteria for choosing who will be trained from among the ministry’s employees to ensure the best benefit from the training.
Sweilam also stressed the importance of expanding the implementation of the pilot fields, which will serve as successful models that encourage more farmers to switch to modern irrigation, while providing after-sales services for spare parts for modern irrigation networks, and providing technical support and rapid maintenance of network components in a way that encourages farmers to switch to irrigation.
He also emphasized the need to select sites for implementing modern irrigation according to the state of the water system, giving priority to some sites such as Siwa Oasis and the New Valley.