A major employer and contributor to GDP and export earnings, Egypt’s agriculture sector thrives despite limitations imposed by geography. The country has been one of the breadbaskets of a range of great empires, and the fertile Nile Delta is one of the region’s most important agricultural areas. Agriculture, forestry and fishing generated 14.5% of GDP in 2013, making it the third-largest contributor behind extractive industries and manufacturing. The agriculture sector grew by 3% in the fiscal year 2013 (July-June), edging very slightly up from 2.9% in 2012, according to Bank Audi. The bank expects a similar figure for the 2014 fiscal year, once data are in, following 2.9% growth in the early months. Egypt will continue to balance agricultural production for its large, growing population, and export-oriented output, like citrus, that is an important earner of foreign currency and attracts foreign investment. Investors should see growing opportunities in Egypt’s moves to boost output by increasing desert cultivation and yields, alongside efforts to consolidate and improve infrastructure.
This chapter contains an interview with Adel El Beltagy, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation.