On Thursday, Egypt marked Farmers Day with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi unveiling a major project for reclaiming one million feddans at a cost of LE150 billion.
“This project will create 400,000 job opportunities whether direct or indirect jobs,” the president said at the Farmers Day event which was attended by roughly 1,000 farmers.
Al-Sisi said the project will also include building schools and hospitals to meet the demands of Egyptians who would live and work in the project.
He said the government will press ahead with growing the share of the agriculture sector in Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP) that now stands at 14 per cent.
Al-Sisi was the first president to make it to a ceremony marking Farmers Day, according to a local official.
Ibrahim Said, the head of the agriculture cooperative association, said in the past presidents had delegated the agriculture ministers to attend such ceremonies.
The head of the farmer’s syndicate said the president will issue five laws that will support farmers, adding that one of the laws will provide medical insurance for them.
In recent months, the government has started to take steps to protect farmland.
It has launched a campaign to destroy buildings along the Nile River and its tributaries that were erected illegally.
Unlicensed buildings have been constructed in Egypt, especially in the Nile Delta area, since the 2011 revolt.
The agriculture ministry estimates that some 30,000 feddans have been lost each year to unlicensed construction in the past three years.