Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trickle down

Fahmi Huwaydi on addressing the food crisis in Egypt. This Arabic article published in Assafir today offers interesting perspectives. It starts with a discussion about the change in food habits in many poor developing nations (Bengladesh appear to e encouraging a shift from rice to potato) and then discusses Egypt's predicament. Egypt imports most of the staples it consumes: 80% of the corn, 90% of the cooking oil and 50% of the wheat, flour and beans, 33% of the sugar, and 98% of the lentils. For those who know Egypt, this pretty much summarizes the diet of most people, except for the upper middle class and the oligarchy. The possibilities to expand agricultural lands are limited, and so is the water, as there are no clear predictions of what will happen to the Nile water if global precipitations decrease. The article offers technical solutions to the problem ("science and technology will solve everything") and recommends that Egypt does what Saudi Arabia is doing: renting farmland in Sudan.

So now Saudi Arabia will rent large farms in Egypt to feed its people, and Egypt will rent large farms in Sudan to feed its people. I guess that's why they called it trickle down.

No comments: