Egypt signs deal to allow farmland access in Sudan

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Reuters | Mon Sep 6, 2010

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's government signed a deal to allow Egyptian companies access to farm land in Sudan, the first deal of its kind between the two countries, an agriculture ministry official said on Monday.

The agreement would allow Egyptian firms to grow crops on 1 million feddans (1.04 million acres) [400,000 hectares] of land, said Saad Nassar, advisor to Egypt's agriculture minister.

"The deal would allow Egyptian companies, not the government, to grow whatever products they need at the Al Gezira project in Sudan," Nassar said. "But each company would need to make its own deal with the Sudanese government."

Egyptian state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram, which first reported the agreement, said crops such as wheat, corn and sugar were likely to be grown at the Al Gezira land project.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous state of around 78 million people, consumes about 14 million tonnes of wheat annually and relies on foreign supplies for about half of that.

It said last month it aimed for 70 percent self-sufficiency in wheat by 2020 as it plants new strains with higher yields.
Original source: Reuters
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