EGYPT – The Egyptian government has partnered with the Chinese government to develop new varieties of strategic crops that are more tolerant to drought, in particular, rice, corn, and soybeans.

In an agreement signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Land Restoration, El-Sayed El-Quseir (photo, right), and his Chinese counterpart Tang Renjian, the two countries seek to implement an agricultural cooperation program for the period 2023-2025.

According to the officials, the project aims to improve the resilience of farmers in the face of climate change following that, the official data shows that the country of the pharaohs has a water deficit estimated at 21 billion m 3 per year. 

This plan also includes the strengthening of dialogue and the exchange of expertise on agricultural innovation in the sectors of irrigation, organic and biodynamic agriculture as well as the fight against plant pests and diseases using environmentally friendly biopesticides

In addition, the officials revealed that the partnership will also involve collaborating in the area of animal production and agricultural mechanization, training, and capacity building through a joint agricultural technical committee.

Egypt, a nation of 105 million people, is one of the world’s biggest food importers and also relies on imports of other basic foods 

The recent crisis between Russia and Ukraine, however, adversely disrupted purchases, but the government later managed to boost its reserves, mainly wheat which is the country’s staple, through the Black Sea Corridor.

The country buys about five million tonnes of wheat annually, mainly from Russia and Ukraine for its subsidized bread, a politically sensitive benefit available to tens of millions of people.

According to USDA, the aftermath of the war drove prices of commodities such as oilseeds to spike and generated a foreign currency crunch in Egypt, coupled with the Egyptian pound losing over 60 percent of its value against the US dollar since March 2022.

In a recent report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA),  Egypt’s oilseed imports in MY2022/23 would drop by 62% following the repercussions of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Therefore, With the ongoing constraints in oilseed imports, USDA forecasts Egypt’s soybean production in marketing year (MY) 2023/24 (October–September) at 85,000 metric tons higher than 56,000mt for MY 2022/23.

The rise is attributed to robust strategies that the government is devising to boost local production.

According to World Bank data, the country’s agricultural sector contributes 11% to GDP and employs about 20% of the active population

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