For decades, Egypt has tried to increase its agricultural area through reclamation of desert land. The significance of land reclamation goes beyond the size of the reclaimed area and number of new settlers and has been important to Egyptian agricultural policies since the 1952-revolution. This paper examines from a micro-perspective, the life of Egyptians resettled in the new lands. The first part of the paper provides an introduction to the discourses of land reclamation, to the policies of reclaimed land distribution, and to the background of the settlers. The second part is based on fieldwork in a village in the new lands; it is inhabited by graduates who have received land under the Mubarak Project. The analysis shows that they move there in hope of making a better life especially for their children. Nevertheless, the settlers have difficulties building a sense of belonging to the new villages, and lack of good schools and other public services may cause families to split up. For some, however, resettlement in the new lands entails new social and economic possibilities. The paper concludes that while land reclamation may not be ecologically or economic sustainable, the new lands provide settlers with new opportunities.
Geoforum, 2009, Vol 40, Issue 4, p. 664-674
Egypten; kvinder; ørkenudvikling; Egypt; empowerment of women; desert development; land reclamation