Farmers in Daqahlia have complained of the loss of rice crops on more 10,000 feddans of farmland due to shortages of water in irrigation canals.
Villagers from the Hafir Shehab Eddin area say they were not provided with suitable irrigation water for a period of 20 days, during which rice seedlings withered. In addition, some farmers said that government officials exacerbated the problem by eventually supplying salty water that caused further damage.
“After we planted the rice seedlings and bought fertilizers, we found that the water [in irrigation canals] did not reach out to the land, which damaged the seedlings,” said Abdel Ghany Mostafa, a villager.
“We don’t know how to manage, between the hike in fertilizer prices and the water shortage. I have two feddans and I planted rice. After the seedlings started to come through, the water did not reach to the land. I contacted officials in charge of irrigation in Belqas and Mansoura but in vain.”
Mohamed Gomaa, another villager, said, “Seedlings are being damaged every day due to the shortage of water. Rich people buy water containers and pump it onto the land to irrigate it, but we can’t. We wait out turn to get water from the canal. But our turn has not come in the past 20 days, although water is supposed to be available for four days then turned off for 10 days."
Gomaa said that at the start of the rice cultivation season, the water supply was cut for 18 days continuously, and when farmers complained they were provided with salty water that ruined the crops.
Many villagers in Manzala city have also complained about the water shortage, saying that their rice crops have been damaged.
Ma’moun Awad, a farmer, said the villages are located at the end of the canal, which means the water does not reach them properly. He said that they have not had any water from the Salam Canal, which means that 10,000 feddans of agricultural land is unusable.
Other farmers complained that the rice seedlings in many villages irrigated from the Ormaneya and Afandeya canals were also damaged, as the two canals were out of water for more than 10 days. Cotton crops have also been harmed in the area, the farmers said. The two canals are normally fed water from the Bouhia canal.
Farmers in the Dekernes area brought water in containers to irrigate the crops. Mohamed Salem, villager, said, “We buy the containers to irrigate the lands for LE10 per day in order to prevent the crops from getting dry after we failed to get our share of water. We complained to all officials but no one cared.”
Daqahlia Governor Hossam Eddin Imam has responded to the farmers' plight, saying he has informed Irrigation Ministry officials of the need to provide water to all affected areas, keeping canals clear in order to ensure the proper flow or water.
He added that he has formed a committee to explore the problem of irrigation across the governorate and find solutions in coordination with the appropriate authorities.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm