Habiba Organic Farm – “Desert Turned into Fertile Land”

The little town of Nuweiba is a very popular spot for travelers to Egypt’s Sinai region, with its barren tranquility, clean blue ocean waters and awesome mountain backdrop. I first stayed here last June at Habiba Village, a cozy family-run camp with an enviably gorgeous location on the Red Sea.

View of the Red Sea from the beach at Habiba Village

Just a few-minute drive from Habiba Village is Habiba Organic Farm, an 8,000-square meter farm filled with palm and olive trees, tomatoes, eggplants, lemons and more. Maged el Said, owner of Habiba Village, started this farm four years ago, wanting to prove that a self-sustaining environment could be created in the Sinai. I’ve never farmed or even gardened, but I think it’s quite interesting to see an organic farm thriving in the desert sand.

Maged at Habiba Organic Farm

Yes, sand. Not dirt. How can plants grow in the sand? Clay that lies beneath the sand as well as manure, mulch and an irrigation system give these fruits and vegetables the ability to thrive quite nicely.

Although they grow in the sand, these plants are not immune to being devoured by insects, and pesticides are actually used to keep them at bay. Can you call a farm organic if poisonous pesticides are sprayed on the crops? You can if the pesticides themselves are organic. The farmers at Habiba mix orange peels, onions, garlic, eucalyptus and other plants together which result in an onion-scented liquid which scares the bugs away.

Organic Pesticide in a water jug

The work on Habiba Organic Farm is accomplished by one full-time farmer as well as WWOOF (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) volunteers. Maged began hosting these volunteers two years ago before officially beginning the Egypt chapter of WWOOF. Their work on his farm benefits Habiba Village guests and anyone else who gets to eat its fresh organic fruits and vegetables. There is a further-reaching purpose of his farm, though. Maged uses it to try to show his neighbors in Nuweiba that organic gardens are easy to begin and maintain and can help provide a self-sustaining future for their families. A few of the 20 Bedouin families who live in the settlement where his farm stands have already begun their own farms and are seeing success. I do believe the way it’s going, some day the remaining 20 will join in.

4 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Steve says:

    Organic pestisides. Now that is an innovative approach. Actually the whole thing seems really creative. Farming in the sand and making home made pesticide all seems like a good way to get organic food made.

    I can only imagine how bad smelling that pesticide probably is.

  2. Sabina says:

    It really is a creative farm, Steve, and the food produced there is delicious. I didn’t get a whiff of the pesticide, but since I was told it smells like onions I suppose I should be glad I didn’t. ;)

  3. jan says:

    If only the rest of the world would follow him!

  4. Sabina says:

    He really is setting a great example for Egypt – and the world.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge