Land reclamation in Egypt

Peter Wolff


Land reclamation in Egypt is of ancient origin, which for several millennia focused on the alluvial soils of the Nile Valley and Delta. The assumption of power by Mohammad Ali marked the beginning of a rapid increase in cultivated land expansion as he  embarked upon large scale reclamation works and canal construction/expansion. Much  of the reclamation efforts during this period were directed toward the saline clay soils of the Northern Delta between the two branches of the Nile, land reclamation in the deserts was only minor. During the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th  century land reclamation in Egypt made only small progress. After the 1952 revolution a new attempt in land reclamation was made. Efforts from there on have increasingly focused on the reclamation of desert sands, as most of the remaining areas of  undeveloped alluvial soils are relatively small and/or have particularly difficult  reclamation problems. This paper reports in its main part on the historical background of land reclamation in Egypt and discusses the problems in connection with Egypt's efforts to increase its arable land area by land reclamation. Finally the question is raised whether the  reclamation of desert sands is sustainable, especially under consideration of Andreae's  hypothesis that "with rising income expectations and standards of living, higher agricultural yield levels are necessary. And this is why in the course of development  land which has been regarded until now as fairly fertile will become marginal land, and the previously marginal land will go out of production.“ Besides this the question of water supply to irrigate the newly reclaimed land is still open.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.