Skip to main content

News & Insights

Gulfood Green 2024

27 May 2024

Egypt announces agricultural project for food security

Egypt announces agricultural project for food security

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi began the first phase of a sprawling agricultural development project on Monday, aiming to improve Egypt's food security and reduce its reliance on imports.

The Future of Egypt project seeks to reclaim about 1.8 million hectares of land by 2030, in addition to modernising irrigation systems and increasing agricultural production.

The project, led by the state’s Future of Egypt Authority, was launched on Monday at a ceremony marking the start of the 2024 wheat harvest season.

Col Bahaa El Ghanam, executive director of the authority, outlined plans to replace imports of two million tonnes of wheat, 180,000 tonnes of corn and 360,000 tonnes of sugar annually, saving $3.7 billion in foreign currency. He also set a goal of increasing Egypt's agricultural exports by 20 to 25 per cent over the next five years.

As part of the project, 24 grain silos with a combined storage capacity of more than 100,000 tonnes have already been constructed by China's Famsun Group and will begin operating for this harvest season.

Notably, the silos contract was paid in Egyptian pounds rather than dollars to alleviate pressure on Egypt's foreign currency reserves amid a continuing economic crisis, Mr El Sisi said.

The silos are equipped with drying units to minimise post-harvest losses, which can reach 15 to 20 per cent due to insufficient storage in Egypt where grain is mostly left out to dry in the sun.

During the ceremony, Mr El Sisi also emphasised the need for efficient water management. “We need to make use of every drop of water at our disposal. We need to modernise irrigation methods," he said.

His comments come as Egypt faces potential water shortages due to the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile.

The President also warned that while the government is investing in desalination plants and groundwater wells to meet water needs, citizens must adhere to limitations on water use in the meantime.

Egypt's economy has been struggling with a severe dollar shortage, which has driven up prices and hampered imports of essential goods, including food, which Mr El Sisi confirmed is still continuing.

The government has faced criticism for its heavy reliance on imports and has stressed the importance of meeting local demand to address the crisis.

The project also includes an industrial zone for food manufacturing, with facilities such as an 80,000-tonne refrigeration unit and factories for processing potatoes, sugar and other products.

“A project of this size cannot be completed by the private sector because these mechanisms and the planning for them need to be centralised so they are the same for everyone. It would be unreasonable to ask one citizen who is planting 50,000 acres to install their own irrigation station, this needs to be done by the state,” Mr El Sisi said, noting the private sector's absence from the project.

Much of the work has been completed by the armed forces, under whom the Future of Egypt Authority is managed.

The project’s facilities and much of its agricultural land are situated along the newly constructed 120km Rawd Al Farag-New Dabaa axis road, which was built as part of the national road network, one of the landmark infrastructure projects launched under Mr El Sisi.

The road extends west out of Cairo and was also completed by the armed forces.

Critics of government policy say Egypt's economic challenges have been exacerbated by a focus on large-scale infrastructure projects, which have drained the country's resources and contributed to the dollar shortage.

Read More

Loading

LANYARD SPONSOR

Gulfood Green 2024 - Lanyard Sponsor

MEDIA PARTNERS


 

gg bas