Agriculture & Water

Agriculture is considered a significant contributor to the Egyptian economy with total 20 percent of Agricultural commodity exports, although its contribution to GDP has decreased remarkably in the last 15 years. In 1998, 40 percent of the Egyptian labor force was employed in the agriculture field.

Cotton is the largest agricultural export commodity in Egypt for many years. The ratio of cultivated land with cotton has declined notably over the last 40 years, from 924,000 hectares in 1962 to 227,000 hectares in 2000.

The government started to raise the cotton purchase price above the international prices in an attempt to reverse this trend. This was simultaneously coupled with a trend to import a Lower-material cotton to export the better-quality cotton, which resulted in the full liberalization of the cotton trade since 1998.

The harvest of wheat and rice have grown dramatically since the 1990s when the government left all subsidies for fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides, which resulted in self-sufficiency in the production of several agricultural commodities. Nowadays, 95 percent of the wheat and rice harvests are used to fulfill the domestic usage. However, despite the increased production, Egypt still import large amounts of food and agricultural products. The Import ratio of wheat has been risen by 8 percent in 1996 and has accounted for more than a quarter of total imports percentage.

The agricultural sector in Egypt remains one of the most productive sectors in the world, despite the irregular and insufficient water supplies and the small area of arable land.