WASHINGTON, December 14,2010 – Agricultureremains 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 diversifyingeconomy. The World Bank todayapproved a US$ 100 million loan to support Egypt’s Farm-level IrrigationModernization Project (FIMP).
The project underpinsthe Government of Egypt’s (GoE) Strategy of Sustainable AgriculturalDevelopment 2030, in the first phase of a longer-term national program tomodernize irrigation on 5 million feddans (a feddan equals about 0.42 hectare). The project aims to increase agriculturalprofitability and improve access to higher-quality water for around 140,000small-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 supportEgypt's new agricultural development strategy. This project represents animportant step in improving the efficiency of irrigation water use in the Niledelta," said A. David Craig, Country Director for Egypt,Yemen and Djibouti.
The Bank’sobjectives in the agriculture and irrigation sector aims to support thegovernment’s efforts to improve the management and efficiency of the use ofland and water resources. This, in turn, has made lending for agriculturalwater management the major sustained program over the past decades," he added.
The project comprisestwo components. The first component supports marwa (farm-level ditches) andfarm-level irrigation modernization in the command areas noted above. In theselocations, branch canal and mesqa (tertiary channels that receive water frombranch canals) improvements have been carried out or are currently ongoing.
The second component ofthe project aims to enhance farmer knowledge and the associated landimprovement and crop production technologies.
"The projectincludes a new approach to the delivery of services by the Ministry ofAgriculture and Land Reclamation that is based on working with farmer's groupson participatory planning and project implementation," said Julian Lampietti, the World Bank Project Task Team leader.
"Furthermore, theproject will also contribute to the development of the local private sectorthrough the local contracting of services and works to upgrade the power gridand modernize the on-farm irrigation systems," said Hani ElSadani, the World BankProject co-Task Team leader.
Last March, the WorldBank’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 agricultureproductivity of irrigated lands through the improved drainage of agriculturallands and the provision of all irrigated areas with subsurface drain.