Tuesday 26 July 2011

Alarming losses of agricultural land in Egypt

A recent editorial from the Egyptian Gazette highlights the loss of valuable agricultural land due to urban expansion, a problem which has increased since the fall of the government under the Arab Spring. This blog post is a direct extract from the article, the full version of which can be read here. One feddan is apparently 0.42 hectares or 1.038 acres.

“Egypt is losing 3.5 feddans of arable land in the Nile Delta each and every hour due to urban expansion. This alarming rate should prompt harsh penalties, a close follow-up and monitoring of agricultural acreage.

“Local experts dropped another bombshell when they said that in the last three months alone building on agricultural land increased to such an extent that five feddans were lost per hour on average. If this rate were maintained, the waste of arable land would reach 43,000 feddans in one year.

“The state of chaos and the absence of adequate supervision in the wake of the January 25 revolution have encouraged profiteering and personal greed at the expense of public interest.

“Officials concerned are expected to review agricultural maps across the country to make a comparison with available areas. Plenty of vast areas have already been lost in the past decade or so due to laxity and indifference.

“It would be utterly disgraceful if a country whose ancient civilisation was based on agriculture lost its fertile land out of its own will and was forced to turn to desert reclamation for agricultural production.”