23 July 2024 03:57 AM

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi Witnesses Inauguration of Number of Developmental Projects in South Valley

Saturday، 25 May 2024 - 12:00 AM

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi arrived, on Saturday 25/05/2024, at Al Manara International Conference Center to witness, via videoconference, the inauguration of a number of development projects in the South Valley.

The inauguration was attended by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli, Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki, alongside a number of ministers and statesmen.

Egypt recently witnessed inaugurating a number of important developmental projects in the South Valley, including the first stage of Toshka Farm.

These projects come within the framework of the efforts of the Egyptian state to achieve sustainable development and boost food security.

Inaugurating the first stage of Toshka Farm is one of the most important national projects to make up for the food gap by increasing the agricultural lands with 500,000 feddans to reach one million feddans in the future in addition to increasing the revenues of the available resources, increasing the agricultural exports to reduce the deficit in the commercial balance and providing job opportunities especially for the youth from Upper Egypt.

Chairman of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority Ahmed el Azazi asserted that Egypt considers food security a key component of national security, adding that the state rallied up its efforts to achieve the strategy of sustainable agricultural development as part of Egypt Vision 2030.

He said: "In light of the successive crises witnessed by the world and their significant impact on global food security, especially in developing countries, it has become imperative for the state to prioritize food security."

He added "Since 2014, the state has exerted efforts to achieve a sustainable agricultural development strategy within Egypt's Vision 2030, where great attention has been paid to many projects aiming to enhance the agriculture sector and related activities by maintaining available agricultural land, preventing encroachment, and even pushing for horizontal expansion."

President El-Sisi inaugurated a project for huge main water lifting stations in Toshka.

El-Sisi listened to an explanation on these projects from Maj. Gen. Tarek El-Weshahy, the supervisor of the project.

El-Weshahy said: "Two giant water lifting stations were carried out to overcome the difference in the water level which is estimated at 40 meters, with a sum of 22 sets of water lifting stations having a total energy capacity of 11.3 million cubic meters."

He explained: "The stations are operated by the monitoring and remote control system. The first station comprises 12 water lifting sets, with a capacity of 6.3 million cubic meters on daily basis."

He added: "The second station contains 10 water lifting sets, with a capacity of five million cubic meters daily."

El-Weshahy pointed out that the stations secure the water needed for cultivating 100,000 feddans of the second phase and between 40,000- 60,000 feddans in the future phase.

After that, President Sisi inaugurated, via video-conference, the axis of Sharq El-Owainat, Dakhla-Farafra.

The axis is 655-kilometer long and divided to three traffic lanes in each direction linking Toshka road with Sharq el Owainat to make the total length of the axis 1,015 kilometers, supervisor on the project Ahmed Ayman el Sayyed.

Also, President Sisi inaugurated a number of axes including Hisham Arafat Axis, Samir Farag Axis, Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi Axis, Gamal Hemdan Axis and Sheikh Mohamed Sediq el Menshawi Axis. 

President El-Sisi inaugurated wheat harvest season in “Toshka 4” where Agricultural Engineer Mokhtar Gamal Abu Akeel said that the National Company for Land Reclamation and Agriculture planted 500,000 feddans of wheat this year in Toshka.

After that, President Sisi watched a documentary on the development projects in the South Valley and Toshka project.

The documentary pointed out the achievements of the company in Toshka, adding that 400,000 feddans in Toshka were reclaimed and it is targeted to reach 600,000 feddans by the end of 2025 in an unprecedented agricultural leap. 

The documentary also reviewed efforts to eliminate the challenges that faced the Toshka project in order to deliver water to the area in the 1990s, including lack of funding and the presence of natural obstacles and the rough terrain that increased the cost of land reclamation.

The necessary infrastructure for the project includes digging canals, building irrigation networks and center-pivot irrigation systems and establishing two water pumping stations with a capacity to lift 11.3 million cubic meters per day, bringing the total number of main pumping stations to 11.

President El-Sisi inaugurated via video conference the harvesting of 2,000 feddans of wheat from the Wadi Al-Sheeh project, which was established in cooperation between the Modern Farming Agricultural Production Company and the National Service Projects Organization in Upper Egypt’s Assiut Governorate.

Engineer Issa Serag El-Din said: “2,000 feddans were planted with wheat and the remaining 10,000 feddans with varied crops.”

Chairman of the National Company for Agriculture and Desert Land Reclamation Major General Tawfiq Sami said that the total cultivated area in Toshka has reached 420,000 feddans in January 2024, up from just 400 feddans in January 2017.

Tawfiq added that 170,000 feddans were added to the area of reclaimed lands during the past year alone.

Regarding infrastructure, Tawfiq mentioned that 100,000 feddans were added in the Toshka 4 through the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces, and another 70,000 feddans were added in the Toshka 3 area through the National Contractor Company.

Chairman of Modern Farming Company Mohamed Gamal Gharib said, in a speech during the opening ceremony of a number of development projects in the South Valley that South Valley agricultural project is of great benefit for Egypt.

He stressed that it is one of the biggest projects to which the state has given special attention, with an expected productivity exceeding one million tons of wheat that will contribute to filling a large portion of Egypt’s needs.

He said: “Egypt faces many difficulties and challenges, especially in maintaining food security, as it is a global issue and Egypt is not isolated from the world in which we live.”

He added: “As an investor from the Egyptian private sector, we took the decision to implement an integrated agricultural project that will achieve a breakthrough and a step forward to be a center for transferring and training on the latest global agricultural systems to contribute to bridging the food gap.”

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi commented on remarks of the Chairman of Modern Farming Company for Agricultural Investments during the virtual opening ceremony of some development projects in the South Valley, held Saturday at Al Manara International Conference Center.

He applauded the company's successful efforts for increasing wheat production to 25 ardebs per feddan, up by five ardebs compared to average production rates, including those achieved by 'Mostakbal Misr' (Future of Egypt) agricultural projects or the projects pursued by the National Service Projects Organization. 

El Sisi asserted the need to apply mechanization and modern scientific methods to increase the production of agricultural crops in parallel with optimizing modern irrigation methods to reduce water consumption.

He attributed the high cost of agricultural projects to pursuing them all at the same time and in an integrated manner.

El Sisi said: "It is unreasonable to cultivate one million feddans to produce about 2.5 million tons of wheat, while we can increase crop productivity to 3.5 million tons without any increase in land area, irrigation water, or labor."

He directed the ministry of agriculture to take lessons from Modern Farming's success story in ongoing agricultural projects in Beni Suef, Minya, and Sinai, urging investors to work with the State for boosting crop yield with the same amounts of irrigation water.

El Sisi also underscored the need to rationalize water consumption in agriculture, citing some low-water, heat-resistant, salt-tolerant plants such as prickly pear and jojoba whose cultivation may only be optimized through complimentary industries and making use of their high-value derivatives.

He noted that the purpose of the agricultural wastewater treatment plants in Bahr El-Baqar, Al-Mahsama, and the New Delta is to make the best use of water resources and reduce water loss.

El Sisi said: "There are 350,000 feddans of cultivated sugarcane in Upper Egypt; we can plant an area of 700,000 feddans with sugar beet using the same amount of water used for sugarcane cultivation, or even half of this amount."

He added that depending on sugar beet for sugar production would contribute to water conservation, compared to sugarcane cultivation, highlighting the heavy cost of using agricultural wastewater treatment plants.

El Sisi emphasized the critical role of media in raising public awareness about the challenges facing their country, including water scarcity.

Addressing the board chairman of Modern Farming, President El-Sisi said: "Next time we want to see this work in Sinai and we are ready to work with you."

He added: "The Egyptian population has grown by 25 million since 2011," President said, wondering if the country's agricultural production would be enough for this swelling population.

The President touched on the possibility of using corn and wheat flour for bread making, with no remarkable effects on product specification, in terms of taste and texture.

The president said: "If we use 18 million tons of wheat for producing bread and pasta, among other products, with 10-12 million tons of which dedicated to bread production, we would secure 20 per cent of this amount, namely two million tons from our maize production," noting that the State's wheat production cannot cover local needs, hence the need for wheat exports.

He pointed out that however, growing in different season, corn can be secured from local resources, which enables the government to cover 20 per cent of its needs from maize.

Regarding the state’s subsidy for loaves of bread, President El-Sisi said that one subsidized loaf bought for five piasters costs the state 1.25 pounds.

He pointed out that after the state used to subsidize a loaf of bread with an amount ranging between 20 to 30 billion pounds, it now subsidize it with about 120 to 130 billion pounds.

Regarding subsidizing electricity, El-Sisi said: “The true price of electricity should double, which would affect the ordinary citizen, but the state does not do that to reduce burdens off citizens’ shoulder,”
 noting that these changes are not the result of the current day, rather it is the result of practices that have been ongoing for years.

El-Sisi highlighted that if corona virus and global crises were not there, the economic plans should have been in place since 2016.

El-Sisi pointed out that power stations exist and can operate 24 hours a day, but when the minister of electricity wants to buy fuel, the bill must be paid after the ministry of finance subsidize charges him as well.

El-Sisi said: “You must stand together and understand the magnitude of the challenges that exist.”

El-Sisi explained that his talk today was not an excuse for an expected increase in electricity prices, but rather it is meant to clarify the magnitude of the challenges and burdens that the state bears in order to reduce the burdens off the shoulders of citizens, he also pointed out to the continued state subsidy for fuel.

At the conclusion of his speech, El-Sisi thanked the various state agencies and those responsible for implementing those projects that were inaugurated today, calling for the necessity of continuing efforts at rates greater than that because every acre that enters into production is for the benefit of Egypt.

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