Impacts of the Economic Reform Program on the Performance of the Egyptian Agricultural Sector

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2010-07-01
Authors
Soliman, Ibrahim
Fabiosa, Jacinto
Amer, Mohamed
Kandil, Siham
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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Abstract

From 1986 to 2007 Egypt's agricultural policy transitioned from a tightly controlled to a more liberalized regime. This study examines the impact of this change on the performance of the wheat (imported grain) and rice (exported grain) sectors.

In terms of profitability, we found that the cost of production increased substantially in both grains, driven primarily by the rise in land rent and labor wage. But the wheat and rice sectors' profitability did not suffer significantly, as advances in new seed technologies and adoption of better farm practices including farm mechanization increased yield and compensated for the higher cost.

Considering market efficiency, we found that over the study period the farmer's share of the consumer's expenditure dropped from 51% to 37% in the case of wheat, while it increased from 24% to 26% in the case of rice. The reverse happened for wholesale and retail margin share, where it increased for wheat and decreased for rice. It is likely that the discipline from foreign suppliers of imported wheat and foreign market opportunities for exported rice may explain the difference in the changes of the distribution of consumer expenditure.

Finally, we found that area response elasticity decreased over time from 0.58 to 0.12 for rice and 0.60 to 0.38 for wheat. The lack of response in rice area despite rising prices is attributed to the land limit strictly imposed by the Government of Egypt because of water supply constraint considerations. On the other hand, the lack of response in wheat area despite rising wheat prices may be attributed to the rising competitiveness of Egyptian clover, which is a main feed ingredient for the growing livestock sector.

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