CAIRO: Egypt has witnessed an increase in commodity prices and a drop in agricultural production, according to a study by the Social Contract Center under the Cabinet of Ministers.
The gap between production and consumption levels of major crops in Egypt has increased, with the largest being for lentils crops at 96 percent.
This is followed by vegetable oil with a gap of 78 percent, beans at 45 percent, wheat at 33 percent, corn at 35 percent, sugar at 20 percent and dairy products at 19 percent. There is also a 17 percent gap between the production and consumption of red meat.
There has also been a drop in the seeds produced by the Ministry of Agriculture which are sold to farmers, the study said, and the current amount of seeds is insufficient to cultivate the fields for each crop.
For example, seeds available to grow wheat are only enough for 65 percent of the fields designated for the crop’s cultivation. There are enough seeds to cultivate only 74 percent of corn fields and 52 percent of bean fields. Rice and soya beans seeds are only enough to grow 77 and 38 percent of their fields respectively, the study said.
In addition, the price of the seeds produced by the Ministry of Agriculture is relatively high which is why some farmers resort to low quality seeds, therefore “in the upcoming period there should be a concentration on producing high quality seeds and making them available for the farmers, said the study.
On the other hand, the Egyptian agricultural market has seen rough times recently due to free trade, which made local farmers stick to international prices and with the existing monopolies on a number of products, some prices have inflated at a faster rate than international prices.
For example, the price of potatoes increased 55 percent, oranges 80 percent, grapes 70 percent, dairy products 65 percent, eggs 50 percent, poultry 75 percent, red meat 32 percent and the prices of fish by 38 percent.
Prices of agricultural products could further increase and there will be a shortage in the production levels if the government implements its decision to remove all subsidies on fertilizers starting next year, according to experts as stated in the Social Contract Center study.
The Social Contract Center is a joint project between the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Information Decision and Support Center which works on providing decision-makers with research and studies.