Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bahiyya is hungry for change

Egypt’s agricultural sector is facing shortages in “strategic crops” like wheat, maize, and oil producing plants, as local consumption outpaces domestic production at an increasing rate.

Agricultural officials are investigating the development of crop strains that yield more per unit, but say their efforts are hampered by water scarcity and rising environmental temperatures. Egypt’s farming sector is responsible for an estimated 80 percent of the country’s water consumption.

Irrigation water levels have declined notably, farmers say, and the country is classified as below the “per capita water poverty line.” Pricey imports have made up the difference, putting a financial burden on the state.

Source: AlJazeera

Note also that water use is very inefficient, and could be much improved. The issue is not with yield per unit area, but with the inefficiency of the state-run system. And privitazing it has not worked well because it has led to the production of export crops which bring in hard currency for a few rich entrepreneurs. This money is then spent outside Egypt and has therefore little economic impact. Solution: change the state.

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