CAIRO: “Urban incursion seizes about 30,000 feddans every year of a total 5.5 million feddans of the agriculture lands in Egypt,” Said Farouq el-Baz, the Director of the Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University, and a Member of Egypt’s Presidential Advisory Council of scientists, in an interview to Youm7 (1 feddan is roughly equivalent to an acre.)
He added that if this rate of incursion continued, urban sprawl would take over all arable lands within 183 years.
In 2011, Baz proposed the highly controversial Development Corridor, which he stressed would greatly contribute to Egypt’s development, by establishing an international highway in Egypt’s Western Desert.
The project will involve laying some 750 miles (1,200 km) of eight lanes at least, according to international standards. It will start on the Mediterranean Coast at the site between Alexandria and el Alamein Lake Nasser in the South, all the way through the desert.
The Development Corridor, according to Baz will face problems stand in the way of development, such as the urban incursion into the rural lands, the lack of proper land distribution, and the problem of increasing imports from abroad.
The project aims to establish as many as 200 new cities and half a million villages, as it will also open up new vistas of urban, agriculture and industrial growth.
According to Baz, the Development Corridor is expected to cost about $27 billion, and it will help revive the Toshka project.