An agricultural policy review of Egypt: First steps towards a new strategy

The latest population census in Egypt shows that there are more people now living along the narrow strip of land by the Nile than ever before, 95 million (CAPMAS 2017). The country’s rapidly growing population, its limited water resources, and its dependence on food imports all reinforce the importance of an integral agricultural policy. With the recent series of economic reforms that saw the flotation of the Egyptian pound, the imposition of a value-added tax, and decreases in energy subsidies, Egypt has a unique opportunity to focus on sector-level policies, including those within agriculture. This paper reviews agricultural and other related policies and their impact on the overall economic performance of the agricultural sector in Egypt. This stocktaking of policies is to serve as the basis for developing a more comprehensive agricultural strategy and policy framework that aligns sectoral policy objectives with policy measures in an effective and consistent manner. The paper is intended to serve as a reference for policymakers, researchers, and institutions. It highlights agriculture’s place in the Egyptian economy and examines water and irrigation policy and the provision and distribution of agricultural inputs, research, and extension, and reviews the price and procurement policies for key crops. Other public policies and their impact on agriculture are also evaluated via a look at the food subsidy system, land rent and tenure, land reclamation, and trade policies. The concluding section of the paper presents a summary of key messages and proposed questions for further research.