While Ethiopians defend the use of the Blue Nile for its hydro-electric dam – the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD] – there have been loud complaints from downstream nations. They say it will either flood their farms (Sudan) or deprive it of vital water (Egypt).
Their concerns are legitimate. Ethiopia should agree not to release water so violently that Sudanese farmers are swept away. And Egypt’s worries about droughts need to be considered.
But there is another aspect of this story that is often ignored.
Egypt’s ambitious agricultural schemes
If Egypt was just using the Nile to provide its people with drinking water (and was doing something to control the growth rate of its population of 102 million) that would be one thing.
If Egypt was trying to simply continue irrigating its traditional farms along the Nile and in the Nile delta that would be a need Ethiopians should be sympathetic towards.
But it is not.
Little is said about Egypt’s plans to increase its agricultural production far from its traditional farmlands.
The Aswan High Dam or Nasser Dam already irrigates large areas of the desert in the Toshka depression.
In 2019 it was reported that:
“Tens of thousands of cubic metres of Nile and treated water are being pumped into Northern Sinai for farmland irrigation, part of an Egyptian national plan for development in the region, the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation said.
The ministry said the water delivery aims to create farming communities, increase cultivable space and attract agricultural investments.
Water delivery to North Sinai is an old Egyptian dream. The idea of pumping Nile River water into Sinai emerged in the late 1970s after Egypt made peace with Israel.
In 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat ordered a canal dug to carry water from the Damietta branch of the Nile, near Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, into Sinai. Water flowed into the canal and then into Sinai in 2001.
The Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah Canal was created to move water from the western Sinai to North Sinai. The canal siphons water into a major plant in Bir al-Abd, which distributes the water to farmland across North Sinai.”
Watering the Sinai
In recent weeks Egypt’s President el-Sisi has gone further.
He has ambitious plans to increase the irrigation in the Sinai. Ethiopians need to pay attention.
Egypt’s Sisi directs government to increase agricultural plots in central, northern Sinai
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 – 06:45 GMT
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi meets with the Cabinet on April 26, 2021- press photo
CAIRO – 26 April 2021: President Abdel Fattah directed the government to increase agricultural land plots in central and northern Sinai, said the Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement on Monday.
In a cabinet meeting, the President was briefed on the national project for agriculture and land reclamation in central and north Sinai, within the framework of the State’s comprehensive strategy to expand integrated agriculture and land reclamation at the level of the Republic, Radi added.
“These efforts are exerted in complementarity with other similar projects, especially in the New Delta in northwest of the country, Toshka and East Owainat in the South Valley,” Radi continued.
“The President also directed that the latest equipment and machinery be provided to reclaim the targeted lands in Sinai, explore the best agricultural activities, and apply the cutting-edge irrigation methods to make optimum economic use of water and double production in quantity and quality,” he said.
The spokesperson said that the inventory and study of data on the surveying and nature of the soil were further highlighted, alongside the achievement rates already made in the previously-allocated lands.
Egypt has always wanted to dominate the use of the Nile waters. Now this age old desire is bolstered by #AbiyAhmedAli’s lack of enthusiasm towards the GERD, calling it a ‘politically’ motivated project, a statement that was followed by the killing of its chief engineer and the arrest of Metek leaders for trumped up charges.
Where are the Zero Hunger campaigners ? Children are dying of hunger and Tegaru farmers are condemned not to cultivate their land ?
“The world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. If recent trends continue, the number of people affected by hunger would surpass 840 million by 2030.” are the Zero hunger campaigners work with those who waged war and sell weapons to ensure the above prophesy come true ?
Why are UN and EU stay indifferent and not willing to take a drastic action ? Why do these big-names ignore the plight of Tegaru, Oromos and and all other tribes in Ethiopia ?
Why are the world leaders leaving the obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian aid by the hired ENDF & EDF to serve as a straw in the wind for the future large scale famine and exodus of Tegaru ?
Saddly speaking it’s all downhill from here , if UNSC and US donot take actions as fast as possible and avert the potential danger-there is no other way out!
Save Tigray and the rest of Ethnicity held hostage by prosperity party and PJDF genociders.
Hahahaha…more than 50% of Ethiopian population lives in total darkness and poverty, Egypt aims to cultivate the Sinai desert with a water that origintes from Ethiopia, what kind of insult is this? this is a ridiculous cruelty. I mean, SERIOUSLY?????!!!!!
Glad that the author is now trying to see the world from the vantage point of Ethiopians. Until now, his writings reflected a one-sided view of the region largely a reflection of his close relationship with the former ruling TPLF. Although the expansion part may surprise most, the complete opposition to the GERD by Egypt and the western powers has historical roots that should not be ignored.