Minister: LE7 billion spent on Toshka with few tangible returns

Although the government has spent some LE7 billion on the Toshka land reclamation project, only 60,000 acres of land have so far been cultivated, Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Mohamed Nasr Eddin Allam said on Thursday.

“President Mubarak has a personal interest in Toshka,” Allam said. “He sees it as an agricultural mega-project that has contributed to the development of the economy.”

The minister called on Egyptian and Arab investors in Toshka to expedite the project in advance of a scheduled visit by Mubarak in February.

He refrained, however, from mentioning Saudi prince and business tycoon Walid ibn Tallal’s company, which became the subject of controversy after it was alleged to have purchased land for the project at marked-down prices.

Allam also said that his ministry would provide a UAE company with the water necessary to irrigate 100,000 acres of land in Toshka currently under cultivation, stressing the need to focus on "strategic crops" such as wheat.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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