Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Ayman Farid Abu Hadid announced that 405 agriculture engineers working at the ministry have been given the right to judicially seize encroached agricultural lands during an interview on the Egyptian satellite channel CBC.
The agriculture minister said that regular training sessions will be held for the agriculture engineers to educate them on their roles, the boundaries of their authorities and the punishment they will receive if they misuse this authority.
“In 2011, we requested that the Land Protection Agency have that right but it did not happen,” Abu Hadid said.
“In this government, as soon as we requested a judicial seizure right, the Minister of Justice approved,” he added.
Abu Hadid pointed out that those given that right will be allowed to file a complaint and submit it to the prosecution, which will make the process more effective and time efficient.
The minister said: “The danger is not just in the agriculture lands that have been violated by building over them, but in the fact that it has become a direction and a culture of the people.”
“Even if we continued with the reclamation of new agricultural lands, the problem will persist and [investments will be lost],” he added.
The minister admitted that, in terms of authorities’ efforts to prevent the spread of this “encroachment culture”, the government has been absent to “a large extent”.
Abu-Hadid added that such monitoring is not the role of the government alone, and it should be assisted by the public, which he said “must understand that the effects on them of the exploitation of Egypt’s limited agricultural resources.”
On the new constitution, the minister said that “it includes articles that promise to protect agriculture lands and the rights of farmers.”