Experts and stakeholders in Egypt warn of imminent water poverty as a result of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is about to become operational. Meanwhile, agricultural production consumes about 85 per cent of the country’s water resources, half of which goes towards rice irrigation.
Rice cultivation consumes more than 10 billion cubic meters of water annually, or more than one-sixth of Egypt's share of Nile water, Khaled Ghanem, professor of Organic Farming in Al-Azhar University, told SciDev.Net. And this does not account for the water used for cultivation in unauthorized areas, estimated to be about a third of that used in authorized ones, he explained.
But there could be a solution, in the form of a machine that ploughs fields in a manner that saves about half the amount of water usually used for irrigation, and a quarter of fertilizers used in cultivation. A specially imported unit, which sows rice seedlings mechanically, is mounted on the machine.
The machine’s Egyptian inventor, Mohamed El-Sayyed El-Hagarey, a researcher at the Desert Research Center in Cairo, was granted the prestigious WatSave Award for Young Professionals from the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) during the Second World Irrigation Forum held in Thailand in mid-November.
[Photo by Dale Gillard | Flickr]