24 March 2018, Cairo, Egypt – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR), has launched the project “Support sustainable water management and irrigation modernization for newly reclaimed areas”.
The project will be implemented in Egypt under the framework of moving towards horizontal expansion in the new lands in the desert.
Representatives from MWRI and MALR, along with Dr. Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt, participated in a workshop where the project was launched. The workshop also included different national and international experts as well as technical and FAO officers.
FAO is piloting a data and information management system, based on monitoring and remote sensing (RS) data to assist MWRI and MALR in monitoring the water consumption and the water productivity associated with the newly reclaimed areas.
This project will set up and test an automated water consumption monitoring and water accounting system at selected pilot areas of the newly reclaimed area. It will further develop a RS and GIS-based land development monitoring tool for use by MALR, standard processes and methodologies for field data collection, analysis and provision of agricultural extension services through farmer field schools as well as farmers-to-farmers visits and other means of technology transfer.
“This project, which is being implemented in cooperation with MALR, is part of a series of other projects and plans aiming at optimizing water use in all sectors, especially in the Agricultural Reclamation. The project will help in establishing a water accounting and monitoring system for water consumption at farm and groundwater aquifer levels,” said Dr. Iman El Sayed, Head of the Planning Sector at MWRI, on behalf of H.E. Dr. Mohamed Abdel Aty, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation.
Hussein Gadain stated that horizontal expansion in the new lands in the desert has long been a key strategic target pursued by successive governments. Hence, this project, which FAO is launching today, is fully in line with the Egypt’s goals, as the sustainable use of groundwater resources and other groundwater systems in different areas of Egypt to irrigate the newly reclaimed lands are an utmost necessity.
“To maximize the productivity of water use, it is necessary to conduct a quantitative assessment of water supply as well as water consumption by the different users, particularly, in agriculture (irrigation). Therefore, this project aims specifically at establishing a water accounting and monitoring system for water consumption at farm and groundwater aquifer level, at maximizing the water productivity and at providing capacity building for the relevant technical staff and relevant stakeholders,” he added.
“This project complements the development Farm Level Irrigation Modernization Project (FIMP), which has been recently evaluated by FAO and is being implemented in 10 Egyptian governorates. MALR aim at disseminating this project in all governorates, as it will highly contribute in the reduction of water losses at the farm level irrigation by more than 20%,” said Dr. Samir Abou Soliman, Director of project management unit (PMU) of FIMP, on behalf of Dr. Mohamed Abdel Tawab, Vice Minister of Agriculture for Land Reclamation Affairs.
Applying FAO’s vision for sustainable development system in the agriculture sector requires taking into considerations other social, economic and environmental factors. This vision is based on alternative methods to move toward sustainable practices.
FAO activities focus on increasing the efficient use of resources in order to achieve high productivity at low input level, while minimizing the negative external factors. They also focus on managing the ecological, social and economic risks associated with production systems in agricultural sector, including disease and climate change. Furthermore, FAO activities aim at identifying and increasing the role of ecosystem services, especially with regard to their effects on resources utilization, risk response and on preserving the environment. Finally, these activities facilitate having access to the relevant necessary information and technology.