WASHINGTON, December 14, 2010 – Agriculture remains vital in Egypt employing 30% of the country’s workforce and supporting 55% of the population even as agriculture’s share of GDP falls in a diversifying economy. The World Bank today approved a US$ 100 million loan to support Egypt’s Farm-level Irrigation Modernization Project (FIMP).
The project underpins the Government of Egypt’s (GoE) Strategy of Sustainable Agricultural Development 2030, in the first phase of a longer-term national program to modernize irrigation on 5 million feddans (a feddan equals about 0.42 hectare). The project aims to increase agricultural profitability and improve access to higher-quality water for around 140,000 small-scale farmers on 200,000 feddans in the command areas of Mahmoudia, Manaifa and Meet Yazid, located in the Nile Delta.
“We are pleased to support Egypt's new agricultural development strategy. This project represents an important step in improving the efficiency of irrigation water use in the Nile delta," said A. David Craig, Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti.
"The Bank’s objectives in the agriculture and irrigation sector aims to support the government’s efforts to improve the management and efficiency of the use of land and water resources. This, in turn, has made lending for agricultural water management the major sustained program over the past decades," he added.
The project comprises two components. The first component supports marwa (farm-level ditches) and farm-level irrigation modernization in the command areas noted above. In these locations, branch canal and mesqa (tertiary channels that receive water from branch canals) improvements have been carried out or are currently ongoing.
The second component of the project aims to enhance farmer knowledge and the associated land improvement and crop production technologies.
"The project includes a new approach to the delivery of services by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation that is based on working with farmer's groups on participatory planning and project implementation," said Julian Lampietti, the World Bank Project Task Team leader.
"Furthermore, the project will also contribute to the development of the local private sector through the local contracting of services and works to upgrade the power grid and modernize the on-farm irrigation systems," said Hani El Sadani, the World Bank Project co-Task Team leader.
Last March, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a loan for Egypt in the amount of $ 30 million as additional financing for the Second National Drainage Project, which aims to support the government's efforts in increasing the agriculture productivity of irrigated lands through the improved drainage of agricultural lands and the provision of all irrigated areas with subsurface drain.
In Washington: Hafed Al-Ghwell, (202) 123-4567, HAlghwell@worldbank.org
In Cairo: Eman Wahby, (20-2) 2-574-1670/71, EWahby@worldbank.org
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