January 29, 2011

Egypt: Food, Population, and Crisis

Many poor countries are suffering from the rise in food prices, just as in 2008, when food riots shook many governments. The situation is particularly acute in Egypt, despite food subsidies provided by the Egyptian government.

From The Oil Drum:
As population grows, the amount of land needed for housing and businesses rises, and the amount of land for agriculture falls. So Egypt can produce less of its own food, as time goes on.
Egypt is reported to be the world’s largest importer of wheat. In 2010, the oil minister stated that Egypt imports 40% of its food, and 60% of its wheat. The problem this year is that world wheat production is down (at least in part due to weather problems in Russia) so world exports are down.

This graph from a Credit Suisse presentation, showing that 40% of monthly expenditures for Egyptians goes for food, is also quite revealing:

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