Egypt’s Agricultural Ambitions: Reclaiming the Desert for a Sustainable Future


Egypt stands at a crossroads as it contends with an expanding population, limited arable land, and the looming threats of climate change and water scarcity. With only 3.6 percent of its 995,450 square kilometers being arable, Egypt’s agricultural productivity hinges largely on the fertile Nile Valley and Delta.  However, as urbanization encroaches on these fertile lands, the government is seeking solutions in the vast desert expanses, aiming to transform these barren landscapes into productive agricultural hubs. The Pressing Need for Expansion Egypt’s population, nearing 120 million and growing at 1.79 percent annually, is projected to reach 150 million by 2050. With almost all of this population concentrated along the Nile, the pressure on the limited arable land intensifies. This demographic trend has heightened competition for land, exacerbating fragmentation and reducing the economic viability of small agricultural plots. Consequently, many farmers are tempted to convert their agricultural land for urban development, further shrinking the available agricultural space. Additionally, external factors like rising sea levels and upstream dam constructions, such as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, pose significant threats to Egypt’s water supply and soil salinity, jeopardizing agricultural productivity.  Historical Context of…

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