Egypt’s Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait has revealed that EGP 11bn has been made available to finance the purchase of local wheat from farmers.
Maait also said that it is expected that another EGP 5bn will be made available before the end of the month.
In a press release on Saturday, the minister indicated that the state treasury bears 7% of the interest rate difference on farmers’ loans, at a total cost of EGP 350m annually. This would ensure that soft loans are made available at an annual interest rate of 5% only.
It also bears support for cotton-producing farmers in terms of the costs of protection efforts against cotton pests, with a total value of EGP 50m annually.
The exemption period for the agricultural lands tax has been extended for a period of two years, starting from May 2020, to encourage farmers to increase agricultural production.
The state treasury bears the interest of loans for converting flood irrigation systems to modern irrigation systems, as part of the Egyptian Government’s efforts to increase the productivity of agricultural land and conserve water use.
A further EGP 3bn has been allocated to lining canals and drains, in order to improve the irrigation system and conserve water.
Maait added that the state places great importance on easing the burden on farmers as the main pillar for providing the basic needs of citizens. He noted that this serves as one of the national economy’s pillars, which has positive implications for industry, exports, and foreign exchange (FX) reserves.
The minister said that the government aims to increase the share of the agricultural sector in GDP, stimulate agricultural investment, and maximise the competitiveness of agricultural crops and products in international markets.
He explained that the government is keen to direct all means of support to farmers, and to maximise their capabilities to keep pace with the latest developments. This is through the optimal employment of the latest agricultural technology necessary for sustainable development.