President El-Sisi inaugurates Wheat Harvest Season in East Owainat
Sunday، 14 May 2023 - 12:00 AM
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inaugurated via video conference on Sunday 15/5/2023 the wheat harvest season, in addition to a potato processing plant at East Owainat, in the New Valley governorate.
The celebration was attended by Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly as well as Lieutenant General / Mohamed Zaki, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister of Defense and Military Production, along with a number of ministers and senior statesmen.
The East Owainat project is the second largest giant agricultural project in southern Egypt for wheat cultivation, with an area of more than 186,000 feddans. The East Owainat region is located in the southwestern part of Egypt, 365 km south of Dakhla Oasis in the New Valley Governorate, 500 km from Lake Nasser, where the soil is rich and devoid of pollutants, which makes it ideal, with an area of 528,000 feddans divided into plots, half of which are distributed to agricultural companies that produce a variety of crops estimated at 3 million tons annually.
The celebration began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran.
Chairman of the National Company for Land Reclamation and Agriculture in East Owainat Tawfik Sami delivered an opening speech, in which he said that East Owainat has cultivated 146,000 feddans so far and aims to harvest 30,000 feddans of wheat as well as other strategic crops this season.
He stated that the total surface area of land reclaimed by the end of 2022 amounted to 460,000 feddans and that the target for 2023 is reclaiming between 200,000 and 250,000 feddans.
He highlighted that 190,000 of those feddans have been cultivated in East Owainat in two stages.
In the first stage, spanning the years 1999 and 2012, 80,000 feddans were reclaimed in the area designated as “Owainat 1”.
In the second stage, spanning the years 2014 and 2022, a further 110,000 feddans were added to the cultivated zone in the areas designated as "Owainat 2" and "Owainat 3".
He added that 1.5 million palm trees had been cultivated. This is in addition to a potato storage that has been built in East Owainat with a capacity of 160,000 tons, which was essential for investors as the area lacked such logistic service, incurring high transportation costs to store the crop and seeds elsewhere.
He also noted that over 20,000 new feddans have been cultivated in El-Farafra and Ein Dalla regions.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi commented congratulating, at first, all Egyptians on successfully reclaiming lands in Wadi Sheih, where the process was quite challenging, and that the achievement has been accomplished by an Egyptian investor who used a new technique to cultivate 10,000 feddans.
El-Sisi, then, affirmed that following the cultivation of these lands Egypt will grow one million tons of wheat using modern irrigation systems.
El-Sisi stressed the need to rationalize the use of water used in agriculture and benefit from the available underground water stock in the East Owainat region by using modern irrigation methods in accordance with the best international standards to ensure efficiency and avoid loss.
During the inauguration ceremony of the wheat harvest season and a potato processing plant at East Owainat, in the New Valley governorate, Kanzy Emad El Defrawy, Guinness World Records adjudicator, said on Sunday 14/5/2023 that Egypt entered Guinness World Record by establishing the world’s largest date palm farm on an area of 132,137 square kilometers and water intake basin with a capacity reaching some 245,000 cubic meters.
She added that Egypt broke Guinness record on that score for the first time.
After that, a documentary film entitled "Agricultural Renaissance" was shown about the Egyptians' celebration of the wheat harvest season 7 thousand years ago, the agricultural renaissance that Egypt witnessed, and the development of agricultural fields that absorb 25% of the total Egyptian labour force, which contributes about 15% of the GDP.
The film showed the role of agriculture in maximizing foreign exchange reserves, explaining that agricultural exports are a quantum leap with a total of 6.5 million tons, which contributed to the export of more than 400 agricultural products to more than 160 countries.
After that, the Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Dr. Ali Al-Moselhi, confirmed that the wheat crop is considered one of the most important strategic crops in Egypt, as it is the basis for producing a loaf of bread, which is part of the real food security of the Egyptian people, indicating that there are 420 committees working throughout the republic to receive Wheat harvest season.
In his speech, the minister said that the harvest season always begins in the second half of April, and continues until the second half of June, pointing out that the Ministries of Supply, Agriculture and Land Reclamation are fully coordinating before this season so that all the necessary capabilities can be prepared to receive this season, through committees. One committee of which consists of the Ministry of Supply, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Food Safety Authority, the approved weigher, the Secretary of the Shouna and the head of the site, in order to be aware of the amount of work done.
This was followed by a documentary film about the "Toshka Project", which the political leadership was keen to solve all its problems and find out the reasons for its failure to benefit from this giant national project, explaining that the project's revival was launched in July 2020, with the alliance of 162 national companies.
After a short break, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi made an inspection tour that included the potato processing plant as well as the planting and harvesting site for potato and sunflower crops in East Owainat, where he listened to an explanation of the components of the project, the production process and storage capacity.
President El-Sisi, also, visited the site of planting and harvesting potatoes that are supplied to the potato processing plant, where he witnessed the stages of harvesting the crop, and listened to an explanation from the company's official on the cultivated areas and the stages of crop production.
For his part, Minister of Agriculture El-Sayed El-Quseir said Egypt's agriculture exports were not affected by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, adding that the country produced 6.5 million tons of fresh potatoes over the past year for the first time.
El-Quseir stated that Russia imported 380,000 tons of potatoes from Egypt in 2023, compared to 270,000 tons of potatoes in 2022.
The minister also updated the president on a sunflower cultivation project that aims to increase Egypt's production of sunflower oil.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi concluded his tour by posing for a photo op with workers of the potato production factory in East Owainat, in the New Valley governorate.