Bread for all and anti-inflation markets to rescue Egyptians from the economic abyss (El País)
- Impact Area
El País, in an article about the food crisis in Egypt, quoted IFPRI findings from a recent issue post in the High Food & Fertilizer Prices and War in Ukraine series and interviewed Sikandra Kurdi, IFPRI research fellow based in Cairo, one of the coauthors.
The economic shock caused by the war in Ukraine – nearly 85% of wheat imports came to Egypt from Russia and Ukraine before the war – added to two years of turbulence associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, says the article.
Since March 2022, 85% of households [in Egypt] have reduced the consumption of meat, 75% — consumption of chicken and eggs, 61% — consumption of fish and milk, says the article with reference to IFPRI.
“There are many people who say they have had difficulties with their budget and have had to change their consumption habits,” says Sikandra Kurdi, a researcher at IFPRI and one of the authors of the report. The positive part of the IFPRI study is that consumption of state-subsidized foods, such as bread, sugar, oil, and pasta, has hardly changed among the households surveyed, suggesting that the existing safety net, however, limited, is functioning and providing some support to the most vulnerable families. Some 70 percent of Egyptians have ration cards that allow them to buy food and basic household items and a larger proportion have access to subsidized bread. In addition, there are two other cash transfer programs that reach more than four million families. Kurdi warns, however, that, although these aids are providing important protection, such a marked change in diet as the one registered would have long-term consequences. Because, although basic needs can be covered with subsidized staples in Egypt, the “problem is that you also need proteins, fats, and micronutrients, vitamins.”
The original article was published in Spanish, titled Pan para todos y mercadillos antiinflación para rescatar a los egipcios del abismo económico. It was also republished in English in The Limited Times.