Egypt seeks African arable lands for Rice, Sugarcane amid water shortage: Mins.
Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atty

CAIRO: Egypt is considering planting crops that need large amounts of water, such as rice and sugarcane, in other African countries amid a water shortage crisis in Cairo, the Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation announced Mohamed Abdel-Atti Tuesday.

“With the current water shortage crisis that caused a downsize in the planting of strategic crops, there is a proposal to study the situations in countries that have plenty of water and fertilized arable lands for cultivating vital crops… to achieve self sufficiency,” Youm7 quoted Abdel-Atti as saying in his speech at the Parliament.

He added that growing rice and sugarcane crops require plenty of water and the government should find alternatives in African countries for cultivating them, noting that Egypt will focus on planting other crops for export.

In early May, the government allocated a number of acres for cultivating rice amid the water shortage crisis. It has also announced that the country will import a total of 80,000 tons of rice to meet local market demands after the price of a kilo jumped around 100 percent due to the merchants’ monopoly.

In September 2015, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said in a statement that certain areas in Cairo and Giza suffered water shortages due to low Nile water levels.

In 2011 Egypt and Ethiopia entered into a disagreement after the latter began constructing the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River which is a tributary to the Nile River. Cairo raised concerns that the dam would negatively affect its water supply. Ethiopia has claimed the dam is necessary for its development. Both states agreed to tripartite talks which began in August 2014 and are being hosted by Sudan.

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