CAIRO: A total of 15,738 feddans of farmland have been cleared from infringements since 2011, according to a Tuesday statement by the Agriculture Ministry.
There had been 277,690 infringements on the cleared land, but over 1.4 million infringements have been detected since 2011 on 65,267 arable feddans, according to the statement.
Encroachments on farmland include bulldozing, construction, and silos, threatening the shrinking arable land in the country. Farmers try to benefit from extensive urbanization in Egypt, complaining that agriculture does not yield as much as construction.
The vast majority of Egypt’s arable lands lie in the Nile Delta and Valley, and encroachments occur almost on daily basis. 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.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi launched in December 2015 the first phase of a national mega project to expand the country’s farmland by 1.5 million feddans.