CAIRO – 15 May 2022: Despite the shortage in the food chain supply globally due to the ongoing crises of COVID-19 pandemic and Russian-Ukraine conflict, Egypt announced that it became self-sufficient in some agricultural crops, especially vegetables and fruits.
In a question time before the Senate (the upper house of the Egyptian Parliament) on Sunday, Minister of Agriculture El-Sayed El-Qusseir said that Egypt has achieved self-sufficiency in many crops and commodities, especially vegetables and fruits.
“For the first time about 5.6 million tons were exported with up to $3 billion,” he added, noting that the ministry has signed deals to export manufactured agricultural commodities to150 foreign markets.
The minister said that self-sufficiency of pourtly, table eggs and dairy was also achieved. “Soon, there will be self-sufficient in sugar and fish,” he continued.
The Minister shed light on how vital the agricultural sector is when it comes to the state’s economy as it represents 15 percent of the state’s GDP. “There is an increase in governmental investments in the agricultural sector […] the agricultural sector is a mainstay in the economy as it represents 15% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and 25% of the employment rates of the workforce,” he said.
He clarified that the main objective of applying the agriculture strategy by horizontal and vertical expansion is to achieve food security, adding that providing raw materials for national agricultural industries helped farmers in the countryside where a large number of Egyptians depend on agricultural activities.
In a report issued by the Ministry in October 2021, the crops that witnessed self-sufficiency include vegetables of potatoes, tomatoes, onions and green beans; fruits like citrus; and rice, and great millet.
Egypt achieved self-sufficiency of all basic crops of vegetables and fruits by 100 percent since more than five years and only imports few non-basic crops like red apple of the malus domestica tree, said head of the Framers’ Syndicate Hussein Abdel-Rahman Abu Saddam in comments to Egypt Today on Sunday.
Abu Saddam attributed the reasons of self-sufficiency to horizontal and vertical expansions in agricultural crops upon directives were given by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to the government.
The horizontal expansion was carried out via increasing the agricultural land via reclaiming new pieces of land or via ending the encroachment of building on the arable land, he said, adding that the vertical expansion occurred throughout planting new strains with high quality, using modern techniques of irrigation and cultivation systems.
“Egypt exports more than 5 million tons of vegetables and fruits annually,” he said.
Egypt exports the surplus in crops that witnessed a self-sufficiency as it produces 1.7 million tons of citrus annually and 700,00-800,000 tons of potatoes per year, he added.
As for tomatoes, Egypt ranked number five of exporting countries all over the world as it plants 500,000 acres of tomatoes annually thanks to the vertical expansion system.
Food security is one of Egypt’s priorities on its COP 27 agenda due to be in November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh city. El Qusseir during his speech at the Senate today tackled the challenges that faced Egypt’s food security, saying “We face challenges of limited arable land, decline in rate of agricultural land per capita as it became only 2 kirat (350 square meters) after it was one feddan (24 kirat which is equal to 4,200 square meters) in earlier times.”
The Minister added that climate change has impacted the agricultural output, amid the increasing number of population, which recorded 103 million people until May 6, 2022, according to the state-owned Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
On March 19, 2022, the Egyptian Minister of Agriculture el Sayyed el Qusair conferred with a delegation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in preparation for COP 27 that will be hosted in Sharm el-Sheik in November.
Qusair reviewed the priorities of the Egyptian government and the fields of supporting climate work via expanding the implementation of the projects against climate change impact, Egypt’s State Information Services (SIS) said
He pointed out the support of the FAO to get funding to implement projects of climate adaptation like the projects increasing the efficiency of using water and expanding the use of new and renewable energy, especially using solar energy in the agricultural activities like irrigation in addition to the projects of increasing the efficiency of the sector of animal production.