Sudan and Egypt sign million-acre land reclamation deal

Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Ayman Farid Abu Hadid has announced an agreement with Sudan involving the allocation of 1.25 million acres of land in Sudan to private Egyptian land reclamation companies to be reclaimed and cultivated using Egyptian experts and labor.

According to the agreement, three Egyptian companies will manage and be responsible for financing the project, supplying the necessary infrastructure and crops. The Sudanese government, in collaboration with the land reclamation companies, will determine the guidelines for dealing with the allocated lands in order to achieve optimal cooperation between the two countries.

The deal was announced during a joint meeting with Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hussein al-Atfy and 500 members of the National Council for Youth (NCY), including NCY President Saifuddin Kharboush.

Abu Hadid said that an agreement had also been reached with the Sudanese government to consider the allocation of 15,000 acres of land to be distributed to young Egyptian people, at an average of five acres for each Egyptian graduate.

He said that the development of farming systems in the Nile Valley and the Delta was essential, as they had not been updated since the reign of Mohamed Ali, and in some areas since the time of the Pharaohs. He explained that developing the irrigation systems would ensure a 15 percent increase in cultivated lands and a 20 percent increase in productivity.

Savings of around 10 billion cubic meters of water could also be made across 1.5 million acres of land, allowing the reclamation of an additional 2.5 million acres, he said. Such an expanse could provide 4 million direct and 3 million indirect job opportunities.

Abu Hadid pointed out that the ministry’s new five-year plan for 2012 to 2017, which has been approved by the cabinet, and for which an annual LE5 billion has been allocated, is committed to the total development of the irrigation system in the Nile Valley and Delta region.

He said that although the national project for the development of irrigation would cost LE120 billion, it would bring in revenues of at least LE180 billion, in other words a net return of LE60 billion.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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