CAIRO: A campaign to “forcibly” remove encroachments on the 1.5 million-feddan farming project was launched Monday, an official source at the Agriculture Ministry told Youm7.
A total of 300,000 feddans of the 1.5 million have been illegally seized by some companies and citizens, said the source at the General Authority for Reconstruction and Agricultural Development (GARAD) of the ministry.
The mega-project aims to produce strategic crops, provide job opportunities for thousands and establish new urban communities.
Meanwhile, a total of 17,000 feddans illegally seized by citizens have been recovered in more than six governorates, spokesperson of the Committee to Recover State Land Ahmed Ayoub told al-Qahera al-Yoam show on Al-Yawm TV Sunday.
Some 11,000 feddans belong to the GARAD and 5,000 to the Urban Communities Authority, Ayoub said.
Since the January 25 Revolution, a total of 1.5 million encroachment cases have been reported, violating a total of 66,000 feddans nationwide, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in March.
Egypt’s arable land is estimated at around 8 million feddans. In December, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi launched the first phase of a project to reclaim 1.5 million feddans in the desert in light of presidency’s mega project of reclaiming 4 million feddans nationwide amid Egypt’s increasing population.
The rate of encroachments surpassed efforts to remove and prevent them; Egyptian scientist Farouk el-Baz said during a 2014 lecture in Cairo University warning that Egypt may lose its entire arable land in a span of 183 years.