A volunteer serves iftar, the breaking of fast meal, for free at "charity tables" on a street during the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, in Cairo June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
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Even as Egypt wrestles with dwindling water from its only major source, the Nile, it pushes farmers to grow more to supply the country's costly subsidised food programme. The two goals, farmers and experts say, are at odds with one another. That makes Egypt the world's top wheat importer, purchasing around 10 million tonnes a year.Egypt's wheat yields are already among the highest in the world but further production is limited by growing competition between Egypt's farms and cities for limited land and water.The Nile Valley, almost the only arable land, makes up five percent of Egypt's area but is home to 95 percent of its people. Siam said the "unrealistic" plan would need 80 billion cubic metres of water a year, more than all Egypt's Nile waters.Water watchers warn that global food security is threatened by water scarcity, with Egypt especially affected by upstream Nile projects, a booming population, and climate change.Egypt says it needs its historical veto on Nile projects because upstream countries are more water-secure.
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