CAIRO — Amid Egypt’s water scarcity, which threatens to worsen the country’s food shortage, Cairo is working to form agricultural alliances outside its borders. The efforts — which have been in place as limited experiments since the 1980s under Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — include sending Egyptian farmers to cultivate land in Sudan and Congo, transfer their expertise to those countries and take advantage of the available water to cover the food needs of the Egyptian people.
If you wander up and down one of the many irrigation canals in Egypt’s Nile Delta, you’ll see a wide range of crops being grown. Fields of swelling water melons sit alongside leafy greens. Twirling grape vines back on to rows of cucumbers. But why have the farmers chosen to grow one crop rather than another? Is it simply because they have differing access to water? A new study undertaken by IWMI and partners* sought to better understand the reasons for crop choice, and has come up with some surprising conclusions.