Desert land reclamation programs and family land dynamics in the Western Desert of the Nile Delta (Egypt), 1960–2010

Alary Véronique, Aboul-Naga Adel, Osman Mona-Abdelzaher, Daoud Ibrahim, Abdelraheem Sahar, Salah Ehab, Juanès Xavier, Bonnet Pascal. 2018. Desert land reclamation programs and family land dynamics in the Western Desert of the Nile Delta (Egypt), 1960–2010. World Development, 104 : pp. 140-153.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : ECONOMICS / Quartile : Q1, Sujet : Development Studies

Liste HCERES des revues (en SHS) : oui

Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Economie-gestion; Science politique

Abstract : The agricultural development on newly reclaimed lands has led to many national debates about food security and budget deficits, and the living conditions of the new settlers at the local level. This debate is still crucial for present day Egypt, a country facing major challenges, including food security, agriculture modernization, employment generation, and land fragmentation due to dramatic population growth. In this context, policy makers are always seeking the best land allocation system for these new lands. This paper analyzes the land tenure and land use dynamics of farmers' settlements during a program of land reclamation (from 1960 to 2010) in the Western Desert of the Nile Delta. The objective is to describe the land development paths of farm settlement and to identify promising dynamics by cross-referencing the farmers' stories and their livelihood achievements. To accomplish that, we conducted household surveys and interviews to learn the life stories' of 175 family farms. Our study finds that, beyond the rules and institutions that fixed the land tenure regimes and its distribution in these new lands, settlers have found different ways to hold on and secure their land farm, even if the unequal land distribution still structure the population. The results highlight also the dynamism of small-scale settlers, regarding livelihood diversification, to face the challenges of these desert environments. In addition, the dual-purpose system embedded in mixed crop-livestock systems can contribute to settlers' livelihood security. These realities confound the unchanged rhetoric of government and this calls for more social consideration of these new rural spaces based on a combination of heterogeneous networks off relationships and knowledge. The apparent gap between the macro- and micro-perspectives analyses also requires multi-scale assessments. Finally, the life-story method proves to be a complementary and useful approach to integrate the livelihood representation and dynamic. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Désert, Utilisation des terres, Colonisation rurale, Système d'exploitation agricole, Polyculture élevage, Développement agricole, Moyens d'existence durables, Politique foncière, Récupération des sols, Histoire, Système de production, Famille, Enquête sur exploitations agricoles

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Égypte, Nil

Mots-clés libres : Livelihood, Desert reclamation, Farming systems, Egypt, Land tenure

Classification Agris : E80 - Home economics and crafts
A01 - Agriculture - General aspects
E14 - Development economics and policies
B50 - History
E50 - Rural sociology
E11 - Land economics and policies

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 1 (2014-2018) - Agriculture écologiquement intensive

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Alary Véronique, CIRAD-ES-UMR SELMET (MAR) ORCID: 0000-0003-4844-5423 - auteur correspondant
  • Aboul-Naga Adel, APRI (EGY)
  • Osman Mona-Abdelzaher, APRI (EGY)
  • Daoud Ibrahim, AgroParisTech (FRA)
  • Abdelraheem Sahar, APRI (EGY)
  • Salah Ehab, APRI (EGY)
  • Juanès Xavier, CIRAD-ES-UMR SELMET (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0003-2325-3070
  • Bonnet Pascal, CIRAD-DG-Saurs (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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