CAIRO: A total of 59 feddans of farmland have been encroached upon in three days; and 26 feddans have been cleared, according to a Monday statement by the Agriculture Ministry.
Of 1,299 infringements that occurred Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the ministry removed 416. The majority of the encroachments removed were in Qalyubia, , Beni Suef, Upper Egypt, then Sharqia.
Encroachments on farmland since 2011 have amounted to 1.4 million incidents over 156,64 feddans, and only 19 percent of the violations have been removed, Youm7 reported Friday.
A total of 271,000 cases of encroachments have been cleared from 15,399 feddans, head of the Central Administration for the Protection of Land Sayed Ateya told Youm7.
Encroachments on farmland include bulldozing, construction, and silos, threatening the shrinking arable land in the country. The infringements, mainly in the fertile Delta, have increased after the January 25 uprising in 2011.
The government is fighting an epidemic of encroachments upon arable lands; President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi launched in December the first phase of a national mega project to expand the country’s farmland by 1.5 million feddans.
The rate of encroachments surpass efforts to remove and prevent them; Egyptian scientist Farouk el-Baz warned during a 2014 lecture in Cairo University that Egypt may lose its entire arable land in a span of 183 years.