Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has tasked the agriculture, irrigation, electricity and investment ministries to begin implementing a project the government hopes will reclaim and cultivate a million new acres of farmable land over four years.
The project aims to reach self-sufficient production levels, Agriculture and Land Cultivation Minister Salah Mohamed Abdel Mome told the press Sunday, by building up wheat production by 25 percent, corn production by 15 percent, and oil production from 10 percent to 40 percent. Financing the project should have a low interest rate of 1 or 2 percent, he added.
Momen said the project aims to bridge the production gap by partnering with national institutions, local banks and foreign investors. He added that the government is uniting all service ministries to support the giant project, which should accommodate about 800,000 small farmers and young graduates in five locations: Toshka, Sinai, Wadi al-Natrun, the North Coast and Matrouh.
Momen also said he would meet with Tareq Amer, chairman of the National Bank of Egypt, who agreed to finance the project as a partner with the Agriculture Ministry. The state budget cannot afford to finance the project alone, Momen said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm