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Nubaria Agricultural Research Station is one of 32 experimental research stations scattered allover Egypt. It is the main research arm of the Agricultural Research Center (ARC) in the newly reclaimed desert areas. The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation established the Station in the year 1967 as a representative area of the newly reclaimed lands (calcareous and sandy soils) of the Western Desert of Egypt. Research activities of the station began in 1968. The main objectives of Nubaria Station are to carry out research on: breeding field crops adapted to the area, biotic and abiotic stresses, crop water requirements, farm irrigation systems appropriate for the location of the station, plant nutrition and fertility build up, soil improvement, as well as providing extension services to the farmers of the area. Nubaria Station is located at the East side of Cairo-Alexandria desert road, about 47 km south of Alexandria.

The newly reclaimed lands served by Nubaria Agricultural Research Station are about 900.000 feddans (1 feddan = 0.42 hectares). These lands are distributed according to two distinct types of demand for agricultural land. The first type is by investors (large and small, private and cooperatives, corporation, and joint ventures) who can pay the full cost of reclaiming and developing land. The second type of demand for land is by individuals with limited capital. This group comprises graduates (both high schools and universities) and land-less farmers, civil and military services retirees, and agricultural company workers (beneficiaries). Type, number of holders and area owned (feddan) are presented in Table 1.

Soil types of the area surrounding the Station can be classified as:

A.Calcareous soils:
Dominates the areas of Sugar beet, Mariut, North Tahrir, and Nahda. Soil texture is mainly calcareous sandy loam to silty clay loam. Their high contents of calcium carbonates (26-59%) causes fixation of phosphorus, low availability of certain micronutrients (B, Fe, Zn, Ni, and Cu), and weak top soil structure. Hardpans consisting of carbonates are observed in some locations at depths varying from 1.2 to 3.0 m. The presence of this layer obstructs natural drainage and causes soil salinity and water logging in some areas. Organic matter content ranges between 0.23 and 1.50%. The cation exchange capacity is relatively higher than that of sandy soils (13.3 to 17.8 meq/100 g soil). The pH values of the soil are between 7.8 and 9.6 and the EC values are less than 4.0 dS/m. Surface irrigation system is the main system in this soil type.

B.Sandy soils:
Represent 60% of the area, primarily in El-Bustan, South Tahrir and West Nubaria. The soil is of sandy texture, deep, non-saline or slightly saline (EC values ranges between 0.2 and 0.5 dS/m). Field capacity and wilting point are low (8-9 and 2-3% of soil moisture content, respectively). Soil fertility is very poor due to the low content of macro- and micronutrients and organic matter. Sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are used to irrigate field crops, vegetables and fruit trees. The principal source of irrigation water for the whole area is the Nubaria canal.
Table 1. Type and number of holders and area owned (feddans).

Type, number of holders, and area owned Calcareous Soils Sandy Soils
Sugar beet
Mariut & Nahda
El-Bustan
South Tahrir
West Nubaria

Investors No. 1722 1744 2284 518 1100
Area
51674 22162 57105 40000 75994
Beneficiaries No. 2385 3000 766 3143 890
Area
14310 9300 3830 41946 4450
Graduates No. 9496 857 3812 644 1718
Area
47480 10150 22880 15117 10891
Others No. - 1596 54 3533 1041
Area
- 9915 270 63239 6553
Government companies
No. - 4 - 1 3
Area
- 51487 - 6522 32982
Private companies
No. 5 4 10 5 19
Area
9785 4000 24367 9345 13250
Rented area
No. - - - 202 -
Area
- - - 12550 5100
Not distributed
Area
56174 4454 47998 140432 6956
Total area 179423 111468 156450 329151 156176
Source: Central Administration of Agricultural Affairs for the new land at Nubaria.