Pucker up, Cairenes (and, soon, visitors across Egypt’s capital). The nation has begun an epic tree-planting initiative that will introduce fruit-bearing trees across Cairo. Soon citrus fruit will be freely available to anyone willing to pluck it. The campaign is kicks off President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s vision to plant one million fruit trees in poorer areas, parks, public squares, schools, and along the roads in various cities and villages. Spearheaded by The Agricultural Professions Syndicate, the project has already been activated in five public areas in Old Cairo—Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque, Abu Sufyan Street, Mogama3 Al Adyan, King Saleh Tunnel, and Hassan al Anwar Street. This week, the northern district of Giza was granted 1000 fruit trees for planting across the neighborhood Imbaba.
Cleverly named “the One Million Fruit Trees Project”, it aims to tackle food security in poorer areas. A secondary goal is to reduce the effect of global warming and to spread awareness of its risk among young people, educating them on the role of trees in confronting climate change.
Sayyed Khalifa, Chairman of the Agricultural Professions Syndicate, said in a press release that planting the trees in public spaces is a first step towards eradicating hunger and tightening national food security. The trees produce a variety of fruits that are easy to plant and able to withstand high temperatures, water scarcity, and air pollution. Low maintenance species were selected that will grow lemons, oranges, and tangerines; versatile fruits that can be easily harvested by the public and require no special care or storage.
The Ministry of Agriculture issued guidelines for nurturing the saplings, in order to ensure the care of the trees in high temperatures.
The project is being implemented in cooperation with the Agricultural Professions Syndicate, the For the Love of Egypt coalition, local authorities in governorates, and other professional syndicates.
Khalifa invited the Ministries of Youth and Environment as well as private businesses to participate in this national campaign, which serves the poor and preserves the environment. The Environment and Higher Education ministries will participate in the campaign, as well as other ministries concerned with the pollution risks.
Will this dent the negative effects of climate change and urban expansion – both of which are contributing to Egypt’s continued desertification? Or is the idea a lemon? Watch this space, and drop us a comment.