To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

September 30, 2008

Purported Ugandan offer of land to Egyptian investors raises storm

President Yoweri Museveni initiated talks with Egyptian officials over the possibility of growing wheat and corn for the north African state in Uganda but no firm offer of land was made, Egypt and State House sources have separately said.

In an interview on September 26 Egyptian Ambassador Reda Abd el Rahman Bebars denied claims attributed to Cairo’s Agriculture minister that Uganda had offered over 2 million acres of land to his country, insisting that no figures were agreed upon.

The ambassador said after initial contacts during the Africa-India Forum summit in New Delhi in April, Mr Museveni requested and hosted Egypt’s International Cooperation minister Fayza Abul-Naga in Kampala on June 27 to discuss the planned investment.

“They talked about the possibility of growing wheat in Uganda and exporting Uganda’s organic beef to Egypt,” Mr Bebars said. “The President very much welcomed the initiative of [economic] cooperation for the benefit of the people of the two countries.”

The Daily Monitor, quoting the Egyptian weekly newspaper, reported on September 25 that Egypt’s Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza had claimed that Uganda had offered his country 2 million feddans of arable land for establishing wheat and corn plantations. The next day Parliament demanded an explanation from the government, prompting Lands Minister Omara Atubo to issue a statement denying the Egyptian land claim.

Mr Dennis Obbo, the Spokesman for the Ministry of Lands, in a statement issued on September 26, however, said officials from the two countries had discussed the issue.

“It is necessary to recall that when the two Egyptian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture visited Uganda in June 2008, they paid a courtesy call on President Yoweri Museveni,” the statement read in part. “The Egyptian Minister for Agriculture indicated that his Government could promote research and growing of wheat by local farmers where the soil and climate permit. No request for allocation of 2 million acres was made or discussed.”

The Egyptian envoy, however, confirmed reports in the same paper, that a delegation comprising Egyptian entrepreneurs and scientists would visit Uganda in October to carry out soil analysis on the preferred farmland and ascertain its suitability. This, he said, would help the investors determine which variety of the cereals to plant for optimal yield.

The team will hold substantive deliberations with Ugandan counterparts on the location and size of land obtainable for the project; its tenure conditionality, and move to assess the rain pattern in the country as well as explore the possibility of establishing an irrigation scheme for the initiative.

Mr Tamale Mirundi, the Press Secretary to President Museveni spoke in favour of the agricultural scheme, saying opposition leaders who have questioned the deal are intent on “scaring away investors and inciting people against the government.”

Egypt is largely a desert country that relies on irrigation, using water from the River Nile, to feed its population of 81 million.

With global food prices soaring, many countries, including oil-rich but arid countries from the Middle East, are looking at buying land in naturally gifted fertile countries to set up huge commercial farms.

It has also emerged that Egyptian businessmen are also interested in setting up abattoirs to process and export Ugandan beef.

The Monitor

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP