Egypt land reform historical ingredient of present military rule

Zardoz tony at
Sat Aug 10 18:55:08 BST 2013

Nasser For The People

The deposing of King Farouk by The Free Officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein - in 1952 set a pattern through present times of the military acting through coup d'├ętats to install or remove political leaders from power. The Egyptian military has always portrayed itself as carrying out the will of the people in protecting Egypt. During the 1950s Nasser acting through President Naguib as his Deputy enacted land reforms that lasted up to the mid 1980s and were finally abolished under Anwar Sadat. The land reform laws brought about by Nasser were as follows:

	 Law Number 178

On September 11, 1952, Law Number 178 began the process of  land reform in Egypt. The law had numerous provisions that attempted to remedy the Egyptian land problems:

Land owners were prohibited to possess more than 200  feddans of land. However, fathers with more than 2 children were allowed to own 300 feddans. 

A limit on the rental rate for land was set at seven times the land tax value of the plot of land. 

All land leases were given a minimum duration of three years. 

The government established cooperatives for  farmers holding less than five feddans. The members of these cooperatives worked together to obtain supplies such as  fertilizers,  pesticides, and  seeds as well as cooperating to transport their products to market. 

A minimum wage for  agricultural workers was set at 18  piastres per day. 

Additionally, the law provided for the redistribution of any land that owners held over the limits it established:

Each affected owner would receive compensation for his excess land in government  bonds worth a total of ten times the rental value of the land. These bonds would pay three percent  interest and mature in thirty years. 

All land bought by the government would be sold to peasants though no person could obtain more than five feddans from the government. Peasants who bought land would pay the government the cost of the land and a 15% surcharge over a period of thirty years. 

Law 178 initially met opposition from Prime Minister  Ali Maher Pasha who supported a limit of 500 feddans for land ownership. However, the  Revolutionary Command Council demonstrated its power by forcing him to resign, replacing him with  Muhammad Naguib and passing the law.
Modifications to Land Reform

In 1958, three provisions of the land reform law were revised:

The interest on the bonds the government used to repay owners of seized land was lowered to 1.5%. 

People who purchased land from the government were given forty years (in place of thirty) to complete repayment. 

The government surcharge to be paid by purchasers was lowered to 10%. 

In 1961, the government again revised the land reform program by lowering the land ownership maximum to one hundred feddans.

Initially, land reform essentially abolished the political influence of major land owners. However, land reform only resulted in the redistribution of about 15% of Egypt's land under cultivation, and by the early 1980s, the effects of land reform in Egypt drew to a halt as the population of Egypt moved away from  agriculture. The Egyptian land reform laws were greatly curtailed under  Anwar Sadat and eventually abolished........wikipedia

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