The Egyptian farmer's celebration between leader Gamal Abdel Nasser and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
On September 9, 2023, Egypt celebrates the 70th anniversary of Egyptian Farmer's Day, coinciding with the anniversary of the enactment of the Agricultural Reform Law. The celebration of "Farmer's Day" began after the July 1952 revolution when the late leader Gamal Abdel Nasser implemented the Agricultural Reform Law. This law aimed to redistribute agricultural land ownership from large landowners to small farmers.
The law consisted of 6 chapters with 40 articles. The first article set the maximum agricultural ownership at 200 acres per individual, allowing the owner to gift their children up to 100 acres. The law also allowed landowners to sell excess land beyond the maximum limit to interested parties and granted them the right to avoid lands sold to others.
Furthermore, the law provided compensation to landowners, valuing the land at ten times its rental value, including other assets like trees and machinery on the land. The General Authority for Agricultural Reform and Agricultural Reform Associations were established to oversee the land transfer process from landowners to small farmers. The law specified that landowners had to leave a portion ranging from 50 to 200 acres as a maximum.
The remaining land was distributed among tenant farmers working on the same land, typically 2 to 5 acres each, transforming them from tenants to landowners. They were required to pay for these lands in installments over thirty years with a 3% annual interest rate, along with an additional 1.5% of the total land price to account for the assets on the land.
In total, the land covered by the September 1952 law was 653,736,000 acres belonging to 1,789 large landowners. However, in reality, only 372,305,000 acres were affected by the law. The rest, approximately half, had been sold by landowners using their own methods until October 1953 when the government revoked the provision that allowed private sales.
Official statistics show that by 1969, 989,184,000 acres had been distributed to farmers, with 775,018,000 acres acquired according to the Agricultural Reform Laws. The fragmentation of agricultural ownership, combined with comprehensive agricultural planning, played a crucial role in addressing unemployment and improving the economic status of Egyptian farmers.
This transformation also brought schools and healthcare facilities to rural areas, increased awareness, improved education, and enhanced economic conditions in the countryside thanks to the revolution. Since then, Egypt annually celebrates Egyptian Farmer's Day on September 9, allowing farmers to live with their heads held high, owning their land, and contributing to the nation's development.
Recently, in a connected context, the political leadership in Egypt has shown great interest in the Egyptian farmer and agricultural reform. His Excellency President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has decided to provide facilitations for Egyptian farmers as a gesture of appreciation for their enduring role in the country, even during the most challenging times, including revolutions, wars, and disease outbreaks throughout history. This recognition stems from the significant role of Egyptian farmers in achieving food security and their substantial contribution to economic development.
These decisions coincide with the celebration of Farmers' Day this year and include the following measures: suspending the agricultural land tax for six years, launching a project to line canals, which has increased the area of roads and agricultural land, and working on the development of rural areas through the "Decent Life" initiative, which aims to provide roads, sewage systems, healthcare, and expand agricultural land in national projects, such as the "Egypt's Future" project, which targets reclaiming 350 acres as a first phase, and implementing the contract farming law for certain crops.
Furthermore, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has initiated the national project for grain storage, reducing wheat losses and simplifying the process of grain delivery. Additionally, the national project for seed production aims to save farmers considerable amounts on imported seeds. The government also provides "Battal" loans to assist farmers and breeders in securing capital for purchasing fodder and livestock. Notably, President el-Sisi has pardoned over 25,000 indebted farmers, alleviating their burdens, and legalized the ownership of lands by smallholders.
All these efforts are part of the Egyptian government's serious commitment to eradicating poverty, achieving social justice, and providing a decent life for Egyptian citizens throughout the country.
Farmers: Dr. Father Henry Ayrout
Farouk and the Fall of Monarchy in Egypt 1936-1952: Dr. Latifa Salem
World Bank Report No. [870-A] on Egypt, issued in Washington on January 5, 1976, five years and four months after the death of President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Book (The Collapse after Abdel Nasser Why?): Adel Hussein
Osman's Experience: Abdullah Imam
The Future of Agriculture in Egypt: Dr. Mansour Abdel Fattah
Testimony of Magdy Hassanein in the book "July Witnesses": Ahmed Hamroush
Said Marai's Memoirs - Part Two