Back in 2008 I sold my 0.5 ha of land in the Nile basin, south of Egypt, and bought 2 ha of land in the north of Sinai. I found the land wouldn’t give the crops I was used to but in 2011 the extension staff of the Desert Research Center (DRC) introduced me to the benefits of a project they were conducting in collaboration with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA). The project was focusing on planting salt-tolerant crops for feeding animals. I thought that this was a good project that could benefit me so I gave up a piece of my land as a demonstration plot for their crops while I kept my old style of planting. In just a few months, I noticed the difference between my land management and their management practices. In 2012, I attended a Farmers’ Field School course in Cairo and Sinai organized by ICBA and DRC. During that training and with the follow-ups of the DRC extension staff, I learned how to manage my land. They explained to me land preparation, fertilizer management, planting methods, irrigation scheduling and harvesting methods. After that, and what I consider most important, I learned how to make silage and fodder blocks to feed my animals. This year, 2013, I attended again the second Farmers’ Field School training course organized by ICBA and DRC in Cairo and Sinai and presented my experience to others including senior officials and representative of international organizations and NGOs.
I am very proud that the challenge I accepted is worth the experience I went through. I was among a few who tried the new crops and management practices but now we are pioneers in the country. Hundreds of farmers in the neighborhood are now interested to get seeds of salt-tolerant crops and plant their fields with the management practices I learned. I am ready to help them all. With all of our efforts, I am sure that north Sinai will turn green in the near future.