Agriculture

Once considered the breadbasket of the Roman and Byzantine Empires, Egypt today continues to be an agricultural powerhouse. Rising domestic demand supports local producers, and it has also led to the country becoming a net food importer. Although aggregate cereal production reached 22.3m tonnes in 2011, a 9.3% increase on the previous year, domestic supply cannot meet demand, making Egypt the world’s largest buyer of wheat. Meanwhile, a number of export-oriented niches, including citrus fruits, are on the rise, and growers are now looking to move up the value chain. The largest agricultural export is citrus, with the country ranking 7th in the world in 2010 for orange production and 5th for tangerines, mandarins and clementines. However, the sector faces serious challenges, particularly shortages of land and water. Much farming is inefficient, due to fragmentation and a lack of technical development. This chapter contains an interview with Musa Freiji, Chairman, Wadi Group.