President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is set to inaugurate a desert reclamation project by the end of the year aimed at expanding Egypt's farmland by 20 percent, the government said on Monday.
Egypt aims to reclaim 1.5 million feddans (630,000 hectares) making the total amount of farmland available 9.5 million feddans (3,990,000 hectares), the government said in a statement.
"The project is a launching point for getting out of the narrow (Nile) Valley and," Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said in the statement.
More than 90 million Egyptians live on only seven percent of the country's 1 million sq. km landmass.
"Closing the food gap and increasing habitable space in accordance with scientific studies is the main aim," he added.
The government will start with 10,000 feddans (4,200 hectares) in the vast Western Desert which borders Libya and aims to use the reclaimed land to farm crops such as wheat and corn, the agriculture minister said in the statement.
Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer.