Egypt needs to improve irrigation efficiency due to limited water resources: Al-Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said on Monday that the quality and efficiency of irrigation systems must be improved given the country’s limited water resources.

Al-Sisi’s remarks came on Monday at the inauguration ceremony of the Bahr El-Baqar water treatment plant, the largest of its kind in the world.

The plant has a production capacity of 5.6 million cubic meters per day, Presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said.

Al-Sisi said the Bahr El-Baqar water treatment plant has been financed by low-interest Arab fund loans and long-term payment plans.

The president asserted that the abusive practices regarding the violation of water resources in agricultural lands will be decisively combated.

Al-Sisi said the volume of water reaching Egypt is not large and will not change, stressing the need to improve the quality and efficiency of Egypt’s water and irrigation system.

Al-Sisi confirmed that the Egyptian state is racing against time to develop, modernize and restore water supply facilities, calling on citizens to fulfill their role in preserving farmland.

The president ordered the interior ministry, armed forces and governorates to remove all encroachments on farmland within just six months.

In addition, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly delivered a speech, noting that the project is a distinctive model as it serves the Sinai to achieve development it has lacked.

The triple treated water from the Bahr El-Baqar plant will be transferred to the lands of northern Sinai to help rehabilitate 400,000 feddan.

The plant is one of a series of national projects implemented to develop Sinai and improve the optimal use of the country’s water resources.

Madbouly said the state is expanding into development projects, indicating that the new town of Ismailia is a model for new towns and includes 52,000 housing units.

The Prime Minister reviewed efforts to develop Sinai, invest in infrastructure and improve services provided to citizens.

He said the state is paving the way for the private and civil sectors to implement development projects in Sinai.

Madbouly pointed out that the state has established a large number of universities and schools in Sinai to provide distinguished educational service, explaining that the state has started to exploit the natural resources of the Suez Canal and Sinai.

The prime minister pointed out that gas and oil pipelines have been developed in Sinai to serve development and investment projects.

Madbouly said the investment cost of Sinai development is EGP 700 billion, explaining that a network of roads and axes has been put in place to connect Sinai to the mainland.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Agriculture Minister Elsayed Elkosayer said providing non-traditional water sources is one of the most important ways to cope with limited water resources.

He confirmed that there is a growing global interest in the development of the agricultural sector, especially after the changes demonstrated by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) for its role in meeting the basic needs of people, strengthening the food security and improved nutrition.

The Minister of Agriculture added that there is a link between food security and national security, which is important to achieve development, stressing that there is a close link between achieving sustainable economic development and development of the agricultural sector.

He asserted that the agricultural sector has experienced an unprecedented renaissance and state support over the past seven years, aimed at ensuring food security and increasing the competitiveness of Egyptian exports, narrowing the import gap , to offer many employment opportunities and to achieve a balanced and sustainable development.

Elkosayer added that the agricultural sector contributes around 15% of the GDP, achieves a positive growth rate of 3.7% and absorbs more than 25% of the total workforce, and Egyptian agricultural exports during the l The past year amounted to 5.2 million tonnes, with a cost of $ 2.2 billion.

He pointed out that the agricultural area currently stands at around 9.7 million feddan, while the cultivated area is 17.5 million feddan, with an agricultural intensification rate of 1.8 due to the interest in the vertical expansion axis. Al-Quseir said the Egyptian state is seeking to recover one million feddan from Sinai as part of the Sinai Development Plan.

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