Government to encourage local ownership of Sinai lands

The Egyptian government will not allow lands in the Sinai specifically allocated to locals to be sold or traded to other parties, the Minister of Agriculture announced Friday, in an effort to encourage local development and ownership in the peninsula.

Through national projects, 170 thousand acres in the Sinai would be given to residents in the provinces of North and South Sinai, Ismailia, and Port Said, said Agriculture Minister Mohammed Reda Ismail.

The projects will encourage agricultural investment in small farmers’ enterprises, and include a program that would ration five to ten acres to veterans of the Egypt-Israeli wars.

In addition, the cabinet will also set up committees to solve the development problems in the Sinai, said Ismail and Irrigation Minister Hesham Kandil.

Development in the peninsula has not taken place as it should have in previous years, said Kandil, despite extensive irrigation projects in the region.

Home to some of Egypt’s most luxurious beach resorts and tourism wealth, Bedouin tribes and residents of the Sinai have increasingly criticized the government for what they say is unfair treatment and disenfranchisement.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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