Egypt is making a valiant effort to boost its domestic food production, but continues to struggle to keep up with demand caused by its rapidly growing population and changing consumer tastes. Corn production is expected to jump 6.25 percent, to 6.8 million tonnes in the 2018/19 season, and area planted to corn is expected to rise by 50,000 hectares to 850,000 hectares from last year, the USDA estimates. But those gains fall well short of meeting expected total corn consumption of 16.1 million tonnes for 2018/19, as the country’s population expands at a rate of 2.5 percent per annum. Imports, projected to rise 1 percent from last year to 9.5 million tonnes, will continue to make up the shortfall. Argentina, Ukraine, and the US are Egypt’s top suppliers of imported corn. Egypt’s struggle with corn supplies mirrors situations with other major crops, including wheat and cotton, both of which the country once produced in much higher quantities.
Looking further ahead, Egypt’s corn domestic consumption will likely continue to grow as the country develops its poultry and dairy sectors. The USDA expects Egypt’s poultry industry to grow 2-3 percent annually, backed by commercial-producer consolidation and an increased need for chicken feed. Egyptian consumers are also showing a growing appetite for fresh dairy products, driving dairy industry growth of 3-4 percent per annum. Egypt will have to make great strides in corn production to keep up with increased domestic consumption now and into the future. With Gro Intelligence, subscribers can easily monitor corn market production and global trade.
Egypt’s rapid population growth (left) is creating strains for the country’s agricultural sector. Corn production is increasing in response (right), but so is domestic consumption, placing a continued reliance on imports.