Egypt completes canal project to turn desert into farmland


Alexandria (Egypt) : An ambitious $100 million canal project to bring water from the Nile river to the Toshka desert in Egypt to convert arid regions into farmland and boost animal production has been completed.

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The Sheikh Zayed Canal project, funded by the Abu Dhabi government, is part of a bigger human settlement plan that aims to construct all modern civic amenities in the desert.

The grant was mainly used in the construction of the canal, three irrigation stations and development of farmland.

Toshka is home to the aromatic Al-Ghabeera plant, widely found in the area, and lies 225 km south of Aswan.

Toshka has never been exposed to pesticides or chemicals, which ensures production of safe crops conforming to world standards, the water resources and irrigation ministry said.

The canal has a capacity to irrigate about 100,000 acres within the integrated irrigation system envisaged for the development of the southern valley covering over 24 km.

As part of the larger project, farms, irrigation and road network, agricultural facilities and buildings, laboratories, factories and other amenities will be built.

The water pumping stations are currently making a test run, said Mahmoud Mohamadayn, chairman of the board of directors of the Egyptian-Saudi Real Estate Development.

“This will breath a new life into the southern desert and up to the northern coast,” he told WAM in an interview published Monday.

Mohamadayn said the project will turn the desert “into green gardens capable of producing vegetables, fruits, livestock and poultry” and will create thousands of new jobs.