Parliamentary sources said that the cabinet has initially agreed to increase the prices of supplying agriculture crops to the government starting from the next season.
The sources added that a group of members of the parliament’s Agriculture Committee held a meeting with prime minister Sherif Ismail this month to reconsider the prices of the agricultural crops supplied to the government, after raising the prices of fertilisers recently.
The cabinet understands the burdens on farmers especially in the aftermath of the recent government’s decision to liberate the Egyptian pound’s exchange rate against the US dollar and the increase in fertiliser prices, sources said. It will reconsider the prices of agricultural crops supplied to the government, they added.
They also said that the cabinet has yet to decide the new increases and that it will discuss the issue with the Minister of Finance Amr El-Garhy. El-Garhy opposes the increase, while on the other hand Ministry of Agriculture Essam Fayed supports it.
Some members of parliament demanded to increase the price of a tonne of sugarcane to EGP 800, beet to EGP 500, and wheat to EGP 600.
The allocations directed at supporting the agriculture sector in the current fiscal year are EGP 5.2bn, of which approximately EGP 3.4bn are acquired by the wheat crop.
Member of the Agriculture Committee Magdi Malak said that he submitted a request to increase the price of an ardeb of wheat to EGP 600, given the increase of the US dollar price against the Egyptian pound, and to increase the price of a tonne of sugarcane to EGP 650, as the Holding Company for Food Industries raised the price of a tonne of sugar to EGP 10,500.
President of the Farmers Syndicate Farid Wassel said that the syndicate demanded to raise the buying prices of both wheat and sugarcane from farmers to EGP 800 per tonne. This comes on the backdrop of the increase in production costs, especially fertilisers which reached EGP 4,000-5,000 per tonne.
He added that an acre of sugarcane produces 40 tonnes, 50% of which is wasted. This means that the revenue of one acre amounts to EGP 10,000, while it costs more than EGP 17,000 per tonne.
He also said that the farmers in Sohag are threatening to use the sugarcane as animal fodder, especially since the new price that was determined for the sugarcane is EGP 500 per tonne, instead of EGP 400.
He continued saying that the pound’s flotation and increase of fuel prices pushed up the cost of transport, labour, and renting lands.
Head of the General Authority for Agrarian Reform Magdi El-Sharaki said that the decision to increase the prices of agricultural crops has been delayed several times and that the government should make it quickly.
He explained that the demand to increase the prices resulted from the fertiliser companies’ demand to increase the supply prices after their cost of production increased due to the decision to float the pound.
Wasel said that the suggested price increase does not meet the farmers’ needs, after the price hikes that had occurred in the cost of transport and labour, which were triggered by the rise in fuel prices by about 30.5% in early November.