Recent developments in Egypt is likely to turn the country into a rice importer after decades of being a major exporter of the crop.
Egyptian traders say that the intense ban and crack down over rice cultivation is affecting the livelihood of farmers in the country who have depended on the river Nile for millions of years to irrigate their strategic crops mainly wheat and rice.
According to Egyptian authorities, the restrictions are aimed at conserving water but farmers in the country allege that the forcible changes in farming laws is affecting them very badly,” As per the media reports, some farmers are defying the imposed restrictions on rice cultivation.
“Some farmers in the region continue to grow a medium- grain variety of the crop because it is their livelihood,” said an Egyptian trader on the basis of anonymity.
A group of farmer told Reuters news agency recently that police is raiding their homes and putting them behind bars until they pay the fine for defying the restrictions.
On the other hand, Egypt’s Neighbor Ethiopia is preparing to fill its Grand Renaissance Dam reservoir. According to MR. Ashraf El Attal, the CEO of Fortuna DMCC, a commodities trading house based in Dubai, it can have deadly consequences for the farmers in Egypt who depend on Nile water to irrigate strategic crops to feed 96 million population of the country. The population of Egypt nation is set to grow to 128 million by 2030.
Many Egyptian traders say that the responsibility to safeguard Egypt’s share of the Nile, on which country relies for drinking water as well as farming has come on the shoulders of President Abdel Fattah.
“But he seems to do nothing except imposing restrictions on its own farmers to grow water-intensive rice crop showing a sense of urgency, “says an Egyptian trader.
Rice is a very valuable commodity in Egypt after Wheat. Egyptian Government has reportedly decreed that farmers in the country can plant 724,000 feddans of rice which is less than the half of what they were allowed to plant in 2017.
Majority of the Egyptian rice and wheat traders including former GAFTA president Ashraf El Attal believe if the authorities in the country stick to this current approach, the country will be forced to import at least 1 million tonnes of rice from next year.