Good Performance Predicted for Egypt's Poultry Sector

EGYPT - Despite fears of bird flu, the rapid expansion of commercial poultry production is predicted in a new report on the prospects for the country's agriculture sector.
calendar icon 19 February 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

In its Egypt Agribusiness Report for Q2 2010, Companies and Markets takes a closer look at the country's poultry sector. Poultry production in the country has been undergoing a transition over the past couple of decades as the government has gradually pulled out of the sector. Commercial poultry farming was introduced to Egypt in the 1960s. In the late 1980s, the government began to reduce its support for and moved towards privatisation as part of the general policies of liberalising the economy. This has seen a large expansion of commercial poultry production. New entrants to the market have generally been protected from imports in the form of high tariffs or outright bans on poultry imports.

The report continues that the sector was badly hurt by avian flu, which arrived in Egypt in 2006 and has since become endemic. Despite this, it expects the sector to perform well in coming years. To 2014, it forecasts Egypt's population to grow by 8.2 per cent to 84.1 million while GDP per capita expands 70.5 per cent to US$4,163. This will drive increasing demand for meat. Poultry as the cheapest meat is particularly well placed to benefit from this.

Problems, however, still remain. Commercial production is still small-scale by Western standards. Feed conversion rates are also fairly low, though have improved greatly over the last couple of decades. This could be improved with continued work on improving genetic stock. Poor technology also leads to high losses and waste of feed. In coming years, we expect this to improve as larger modern producers expand and smaller producers are forced out of the business.

The improvement of agricultural production is essential for Egypt's food security. The country is a large net food importer. In a bid to guarantee adequate supplies of its staple food, wheat, Egypt is joining the worldwide trend of investing in farmland abroad. Following the rapid price spike in world grain prices in 2007 and 2008, many, mainly rich, food-deficit countries began looking to purchase land in poor, land-rich countries. Egypt has been focusing its attention on its African neighbours with land lease deals reported in Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Though the deals could certainly help to improve Egypt's perilous food security position, the report warns that land is a sensitive issue, particularly in poor, agricultural societies where large proportions of the populations are subsistence farmers. The Egyptian government and the governments of the countries leasing out land will have to be very careful in dealing with local objections if the deals are not to prove highly unpopular and end up being overturned.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.
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