Gamal Mubarak promises ‘good news’ for nation’s farmers

At an iftar banquet held by the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), Gamal Mubarak, NDP assistant secretary-general and son of President Hosni Mubarak, told representatives of the country's farmers that they could expect "good news" if the ruling party won big in upcoming parliamentary elections slated for November.

Mubarak said the party planned to submit proposals to parliament aimed at developing the local agricultural sector. “We would also raise the prices the government pays farmers for their crops,” he added.

The presidential scion explained that the agricultural sector currently failed to account for even 6 percent of the country's economic growth, a situation that warranted better planning. “We need to capitalize on the experiences of other countries,” he said.

“Farmers wanted to sell their products at global prices when those prices rose in 2008,” he said. “But the government had to consider the fact that consumers were not willing to pay global prices for local products.”

Mubarak went on to say that a new unified law on construction had been prepared to counter longstanding problems related to unlicensed structures erected on arable land.

“We worked on this law four years ago,” he said. “It's not true that the law does not favor farmers.”

Irrigation Minister Nasr Eddin Allam, for his part, said his ministry had managed to save some six billion cubic meters of water when the areas earmarked for rice cultivation were reduced. “This achieved equal distribution of water to farmers,” Allam said.

According to Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza, the government will buy rice from farmers this season at no less than LE1300 per ton. “Also, purchase prices for wheat will go up,” the minister said, adding that new prices would be announced in the first week of November.

“I have approved a proposal by the Social Solidarity Ministry to purchase 500,000 to 700,000 tons of corn this season at prices ranging between LE230 and LE250 per ton,” Abaza said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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