Photo Essays

Rice Harvest Season Reveals Hopes, Suffering of Egyptian Farmers

Rice Harvest Season Reveals Hopes, Suffering of Egyptian Farmers

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Photos by Mohamed Omar

Farmers at Qaransho village in Basion area in Gharbeya governorate harvested their rice crops in late September, ending a season which they described as “one of the best in recent years.” Surrounded by waves of joy and excitement, farmers and their families worked to gather the rice grains from huge fields.

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The season for rice cultivation begins in May and takes about four months to produce. Rice crops require a lot of water for productive yields so farmers exert extra effort in soaking their fields every four days. To guarantee the quality of the crops, farmers pay great attention to using pesticides and fertilizers that they receive from the Ministry of Agriculture’s outlets.

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“We need huge amounts of seeds, pesticides, medicines, and chemical fertilizers to treat our crops every season and some are not able to afford it,” said Samah Mohammed, one of the Qaransho farmers. “One bottle of pesticides can cost more than EGP 300 and cover only one acre. Therefore, some farmers usually encounter problems when dealing with the worms that may attack their crops if they don’t use any chemicals.”

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However, Mohammed considers this season as one of the best for a couple of reasons. “This year witnessed the highest prices of rice crops in a decade. We can sell a tonne for EGP 3,000 unlike last year, in which we had to sell the tonne for EGP 2,000,” she added.

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Despite the great effort they exert in packing and sending the rice to wholesalers and retailers, most of the farmers immediately repurpose their fields for planting clover, potato, carrots, and peas. “Work is our life. We love farming and we dedicate our time to growing high quality yields to compete in the Egyptian and international markets,” she concluded.

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