| || Almost 800,000 tons of dates are picked and dried each year in Egypt. Although this makes the country the world’s second-biggest date producer, it is still not enough. Date palms, like other crops, no longer meet the demand of an Egyptian population that is growing at the rate of 1.69 percent per year. While the population is expected to rise from 69 million people to 100 million by 2025, agriculture will remain confined to whatever land can be irrigated. The country already imports half its food and would like to limit this dependence, but it must also take into account its limited water supplies. Egypt could be facing a shortage of fresh water by 2025, as could two-thirds of the world’s people. Population growth, increasing irrigation, and industrial development are likely to increase world consumption by 40 percent, leaving this resource no opportunity to renew itself.
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