“It hurts me to see that precious, fertile agricultural land in the Nile delta being used for housing”
“Most of the irrigation in the Nile delta functions in an anarchistic, uncontrolled way”
The Egyptian Nile delta is one of the most fertile areas in the world. Therefore it is no wonder that this region has been used for intensive farming for decades. Although the Nile delivers a constant flow of fresh water, farmers will have to improve the rate of efficiency of their irrigation.
Millions and millions of small farmers establish the backbone of Egypt`s farming sector. Only a few dozen of large agricultural companies produce on a professional level that is comparable to European standards. According to some people, the future of Egypt`s agriculture lies in the desert. Others disagree. All agree, though, on one aspect: water for agriculture is scarce. And it is getting scarcer.
20 million then, 80 million nowadays, 150 million in the near future. Egypt’s population is exploding. All these people have to share the same amount of water, that mainly comes from Egypt’s lifeline the Nile. According to a recent study, Egypt’s demand for water will exceed the supply in 2017. How to avoid such a situation? Will there be enough water for all?
Ronald is on Dutch Radio one where he tells about his latest Disputed Waters trip to Egypt.
Back in Cairo! In order to get a press accreditation for a field visit with the Ministry of Water in the next days, we went to the Ministry of Information this evening, located in the same building as the (former?) Egyptian state television. The building straddles the east bank of the Nile, next to the burnt-out former party centre of Mubarak`s NDP in central Cairo.
Abdel Geber Regab is 42, but he looks at least ten years older. He lives in Beni Achmed, a village along the Nile, three hours south of Cairo. Life is hard here, and working the land is even harder. ‘Of course my back hurts! Every farmer has problems with his back, but we are used to it. We have been farmers since Pharaonic times.’