Crop growers brace for more violence in Egypt

June 22, 2011 • Farming Practices, Africa, Daily Email Recap

I came across this article in the Egyptian Gazette on an Egypt Air flight. See:

Crop Growers Brace for More Violence in Egypt

By Mohssen Arishie – The Egyptian Gazette
Sunday, June 5, 2011 04:22:53 PM

CAIRO – As the nation starts to sweat under a scorching sun, Egyptian farmers are afraid that there may be more brawls like last year’s over the lack of irrigation water.

Soothing statements by the Government about the resumption of cordial relations with other Nile Basin states haven’t persuaded infuriated farmers to stop cursing water officials.

Every summer, crop growers get involved in nasty fights with their neighbours over who should irrigate their land first, saving their crops from dying.

Sometimes, farmers’ crops in hard-hit areas do in fact shrivel up and die. The tragedy can be more disastrous, when some growers ignore the public’s health and use sewage water to irrigate their land.

Many citizens have died as a result of eating contaminated fruit and vegetables. The Government is also suffering, as health officials complain that the medical treatment for people who get sick from eating contaminated agricultural produce is very expensive. Ridiculing the Government’s complaints, a frustrated crop grower insists that a proper irrigation system would be great for the public’s health and the State budget.

Abdel-Aziz Khalaf, a farmer in the Delta Governorate of el-Menoufiya, condemns the Government, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture, for betraying the farmers in summer.

“Although there is a shortage of irrigation water every summer, it does not seem that the agricultural officials are willing to suggest a solution. Everybody is letting down everybody else. The Government does not want to learn from past disasters,” he says.

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