Egypt is losing land faster than any country in the world, according to UN estimates announced Friday on the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
The Executive Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification announced that Egypt ranked first in the rate of desertification, painting a bleak picture of fast-shrinking agricultural lands, deteriorating soil fertility and low productivity due to increased land abuse.
The UN report also said Egypt loses 3.5 acres per hour of fertile Delta agricultural land as a result of urban sprawl and construction, which is a record unprecedented in the global rate of deforestation.
Ismail Abdel Galil, the national coordinator for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, said in press statements that the report did not include the painful reality of increasing construction on agricultural lands, which has jumped over the past three months to five acres per hour due to chaos and the lack of regulation.
He said Egypt is losing tracts of fertile lands formed by the Nile River's flooding over thousands of years that cannot be recovered, especially after the decline in land reclamation programs by the state.
Abdel Galil said the report emphasizes the growing size of the food gap and the inevitable increased reliance on food imports, which threatens Egypt's future and could put it on the brink of famine. He urged the government to take swift action to prevent such a crisis.
Translated from the Arabic Edition