Egypt’s success in developing its agricultural sector has been due in part to irrigation programs, price incentives for farmers.
Agriculture opportuiniites in Egypt
Egypt is the largest country in the Arab world with a population estimated to be over 84 million.
50% of the population are under 25 years of age.
Egypt has a strategic location in the centre of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region
(800 million people) and has links to the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. It is the
hub for the world’s maritime traffic with commercial ports on the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
ξ Egypt is a signatory to many regional and international Free Trade agreements which
reduce or waive completely the custom duties on exported/imported goods.
ξ According to Business Monitor International reports “Egypt has the greatest potential as a
consumer market in the Middle East and North Africa and is also one of the favourite
ξ Egypt was designated a priority market under UKTI’s five-year strategy announced in
May 2011 - “Britain Open for Business.
ξ Egypt’s agriculture production is mainly cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables,
cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats
ξ Major agricultural exports are crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal
products. Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer.
ξ Major agricultural imports are machinery equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, wood
ξ Egypt has the world’s most productive cultivation of rice (3.8 tons per acre), cane sugar
(50 tons/acre) and sorghum (1.9 ton/acre).
ξ Egypt’s success in developing its agricultural sector has been due in part to irrigation
programs, price incentives for farmers.
ξ Egypt imports approximately 95% of its agricultural equipment and the balance is locally
produced. However, the quality of local production cannot compete in global markets.
ξ Advances in Post Harvest Technology: Technology transfer to help Egyptians to grow
crops in the desert in silica "glass pebbles", which greatly reduces the need for water.
ξ Silos: In order to increase the storage capacity, the government is promoting a project to
the private sector. This project encourages the private sector to build 50 inland silos with
30,000 MT capacities in different locations throughout the country and Ministry of Supply
and Social Affairs will then commit to using 60 percent (90,000 MT) of each silos capacity
at the prevailing storage fee for 5 years.
ξ Slaughterhouses: Egypt produces 2 MT of poultry per year and has a capacity of 500,000
MT slaughterhouses. To encourage the private sector to invest in this industry, the
government has signed a joint agreement with a Kuwaiti fund to provide $90 million in
ξ Meat imports: Imports of meat were banned. On request from the EU, the government
agreed to permit meat imports (with certain conditions) from EU countries. The country
produces 70 % of its red meat requirements, with annual imports reaching 400,000 tons
(meaning that Egypt's annual consumption of red meat is now estimated at 1.3 million
ξ Fisheries: The government hopes to increase annual production of fish catch to meet
expected demand of 1.4m tons. This is planned by managing natural fish stocks and
encouraging the use of the country's inland lakes and waterways for intensive aquaculture.
ξ Fertilisers: The fertilizer market of Egypt is booming due to the growing demand from the
agricultural sector. The country's central geographical position and the availability of
cheap gas have helped Egypt attract international players. Inviting investors to build
fertilizer production units and use the country as a convenient export base.
ξ Agriculture Equipment: Egypt encourages the private sector to invest in this industry.
Demand in Egypt’s agri sector is mainly for the following equipment: irrigation
equipment, harvesting and threshing machinery, vine harvesting equipment, till tunnel
vineyard sprayers, tillage equipment, spreaders for manure, grain and pressure bins,
agriculture packing equipment, crop dryers, Pop-up sprinklers and landscape and golf
ξ Wheat Supply: Egypt, the world’s top wheat importer, is heavily dependent on wheat.
Egyptians consume more than 12 million tons of wheat yearly, consuming large quantities
of bread and pasta. Given the generally low incomes and low per capita spending on food,
cereals such as wheat, corn, sorghum and rice make up the bulk of the Egyptian diet,
providing over 72% of daily energy and protein supplies.
The government subsidises the popular Baladi flat bread in order to make daily bread accessible
to even the poorest in society. Despite government plans to increase planted areas of wheat, the
growth in wheat production in Egypt is still not enough for Egypt’s consumption and the
Egyptian wheat is suitable only to make Baladi bread. An opportunity for future purchasing of
UK wheat exists especially due to the UK being within Egypt’s approved list of supplying
Latest export opportunities in the Agriculture sector
Latest export opportunities in Egypt
Getting into the market
Egypt is an attractive market that can offer major business opportunities to informed traders and
investors. Trade and investment between the UK and Egypt is promising. However it is not
always an easy market. A successful entry into Egypt will be determined by the quality of the
information and advice upon which the decision to enter is based. Continued success is also
dependent upon the ability to navigate the laws and practices of Egypt.
The Egyptian market requires careful study and a sustained sales effort. There is strong
competition from other exporting countries. Price and credit terms are a deciding factor when
obtaining contracts, though quality is increasingly important. Back-up servicing facilities and the
supply of spare parts is also important.
Having a local partner can be vital to successful penetration of this market. There are several
reasons for this. Firstly, given the continuing bureaucracy, a local partner can shepherd the
foreign business through the delays and obstacles. Secondly, foreign companies require a local
agent to bid for government tenders. Thirdly, as the Egyptian market becomes more
sophisticated there is a growing demand for after sales service, which a local agent can
In general, British products and services are very highly regarded in Egypt for their quality. The
main obstacle facing the growth of British involvement in the Egyptian market is that British
products have a reputation as being expensive compared to some foreign products. This has
lessened slightly over the past year as exchange rate fluctuations have been in favour of UK
British companies wishing to develop their business in the Egyptian market are advised to
undertake as much market research and planning as possible in the UK.
More about doing business in Egypt
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits through our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Marwa Hussein, British Embassy Cairo. Tel: + 202 2791 6000 or email:
Gary Hunt, British Embassy Cairo. Tel: + 202 2791 6000 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events in the Agriculture sector
Organiser: Crose Co. E
International Conference and exhibition of the technology in grain industry & products1-3
From Agriculture to Retailing
November 28-29, 2012
Conrad Cairo Hotel
Web Site: www.beba.org.eg
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters