Egypt is home to one of the oldest agricultural civilizations, with the fertility of the Nile and the Delta enticing populations throughout the ages to settle in the surrounding areas, which make up approximately 10% of the entireland.
The remainder of the land is largely desert. Agriculture is crucial to the economy, and accounts for 14.5% of the country’s GDP, 12% of all exports, and employs 29.6 % of the total active population.
The climatic differences between North and South have some impact on the geographical distribution of crops, for example, humidity in the Delta suits long-staple cotton, whereas the drier, hotter climate of the south favors the planting of sugarcane, onions, and lentils. The Egyptian agribusiness sector is composed mainly of ten product groups: milk and dairy products, oils and oil by-products, beverages, drinks and bottled water, fruit and vegetable products, confectionary and chocolates, meats, poultries and fish, specialty food and food additives, grinding and flour, and the rice polishing and pasta industry.
The majority of agribusiness exports are targeted towards the Arab world with the leading export destinations being Saudi Arabia and Libya, succeeded by the European Union then Turkey and Iran. This year alone, the Ministry of Agriculture has allocated 500 million pounds for agricultural projects, as well as creating a new agricultural policy for the state, which is geared towards revamping old plots of land in the Valley and the Delta, as well as exploiting the new reformed lands. In total, the Ministry of Agriculture is looking to reform 4 million feddans of land in Egypt by 2030.
This in turn has the potential to employ thousands of youths and allow the country to be self-sufficient for wheat, maize, sugar, dairy and cheese.
Additional actions within the proposed plan include phasing out subsidies on chemical fertilizers while redirecting the same financial incentives to smallfarmers.
This is to be accomplished by increasing the prices of chemical fertilizers and using the profits to finance small farmers’ cooperatives.
Main Cultivated Crops
Rice: Egypt is the biggest producer in Africa.
– Cotton: Egypt is the second producer in Africa after Mali, and it is a legal offence to harvest Egyptian cotton anywhere outside of Egypt, making it the only place where this sought after product is available.
– Corn: Egypt is the 3rd largest producer in Africa after Nigeria and South Africa.