Gov’t warns farmers against exceeding rice plantation limits to save water
Rice plant - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The Ministry of Irrigation has urged farmers to commit to the determined number of acres for rice cultivation this year, to avoid Nile water waste and rationalize its use, Youm7 quoted a ministry statement.

In the statement, the ministry said fines will be imposed on violators and the extra plantations will be removed, adding that determining the amount of rice planted across the country “solves farmers’ complaints about the lack of irrigation water during periods of maximum needs, and it maximizes the benefit of water amid shortage crisis.”

As the rice is among crops that consumes a lot of irrigation water, the government determines each year which governorates will plant rice and how many acres will be cultivated.

For the year 2016, some 1.1 million feddans will be cultivated in eight Delta governorates, meaning that farmers in other governorates should not plant rice this year; otherwise they will be fined between 30,000 EGP-100,000 EGP for each feddan and seven piaster for each extra cubic meter of water.

The eight governorates are: Beheira, Gharbiya, Kafr el-Sheikh, Dakahlia, Damietta, Sharqia, Port Said and Ismailia.

Each fall, Egypt faces a recurring phenomenon called “Black Clouds;” dark thick clouds blanketing its skies, as a result of burning chaff and straw of rice. The government has struggled to stop the burning practice by urging farmers to commit to determined acres and submit the excess straw in exchange for money.

The Ministry of Environment has adopted strategies to track fire spots during harvest season through satellites, citing a reduction in air pollution in 2015.

Besides the environmental impact and its contribution to climate change, the black clouds are believed to have serious health repercussions, especially to those suffering from allergies.

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