Egypt Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

The Nile has been called the mother of Egypt. Almost the entire population lives in the narrow fertile strip that forms the river valley. Agriculture, which is still an important part of the economy, is entirely dependent on the Nile and the irrigation that the river enables.

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More than a quarter of the population are employed in agriculture, which accounts for more than half the population. Nevertheless, less than one-twentieth of the country’s area consists of arable land, in the Nile delta, along the Mediterranean coast and in a strip along the Nile that is never wider than two miles. The country lacks forests and there are hardly any pastures.

Sugar cane, sugar beet, wheat, dates, tomatoes, rice and corn are important crops. Cotton, fruits and vegetables provide export income. For Egypt defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.

Egypt, thanks to the Nile, has one of the world’s oldest agricultural economies. The annual floods of the river have deposited fertile sludge at all times which has given the beaches its good soil. The Assuan Dam (High Dam) and the Nile’s regulation now allow irrigation of agricultural land all year round. Combined with fertile soil, favorable climate and better farming methods, it yields high yields with two to three harvests per year. But the dam has also contributed to salting, and the river water can receive both wastewater and garbage.

Ethiopia, further upstream, is preparing a giant dam that is feared to reduce the water supplies from the Nile that Egyptian agriculture needs. The risk is also feared to be that climate change will hit agriculture hard, with sharply reduced harvests as a result.

Almost all agricultural production is consumed in the country. Still, it is not enough to meet the needs. Egypt is believed to be the world’s largest producer of dates, but dates represent a very small part of exports, as the country has such a large population of its own that demand the goods. Despite large wheat crops, wheat is imported; In Egypt, more wheat is consumed per person than almost anywhere else and the country is one of the world’s largest buyers of wheat. Rise exports occur, but it has occasionally been stopped to meet domestic demand.

Cotton is the sector’s most important export commodity. Egyptian cotton is characterized by long fibers and high quality, but the production is very demanding. Investments are being made to increase the cultivation of, among other things, cut flowers, citrus fruits and green beans.

Nearly half of all arable land is controlled by less than five percent of landowners, while many farmers live on self-catering land in smaller fields. Small farmers on the Nile often stick with cows, water buffaloes and chickens.

Egypt has significant fishing in the inland lakes as well as in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Sardines are caught in the Mediterranean and shrimp and crabs in the Red Sea.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

11.2 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

3.8 percent (2016)



Short time in freedom for activist

December 30

Activist Amal Fathi is sentenced to two years in prison and fined the equivalent of SEK 5,000. Among other things, she is accused of spreading fake news. She has recently been conditionally released in another case (see December 18). Amal Fathi was arrested in May after posting a video online about sexual harassment.

Concern about a new wave of terror

December 29

Four people lose their lives in a terrorist attack near the pyramids. The terrorist council, which meets a Vietnamese tourist group, is the first major in several years and causes many travel agencies to set up Kairout flights from tourist destinations on the Red Sea. The tourism industry has begun to recover in recent years, but visitor numbers are still significantly lower than they were before the Arab Spring of 2011, which triggered a time of much unrest in Egypt.

Jail sentences for revolt support are revoked

December 20

43 employees in individual organizations are released after several trips in court from accusations of having received illegal contributions from abroad. The charges arose in connection with the Arab Spring, the wave of protests in 2011, and led to prison sentences for the defendants in 2013. According to the indictments, contributions from abroad would have been used to support the revolt against state power (see December 2011).

Release by price from abroad

December 18

A court orders conditional release of Amal Fathi, who has been jailed for over six months after protesting via social media against sexual harassment. The message comes on the same day that her husband Mohamed Lotfy, who heads a human rights organization, receives a Franco-German Freedom Award.


Attack on Christians at monastery

November 2

Near Minya on the Nile, where there are relatively many Copts (Egyptian Christians), seven Christians die in an assault on two buses near a monastery. A police hunt through desert neighborhoods begins. Two days later, 19 people, identified as terrorists, die in gunfire with police.


Ready for new loan from IMF

October 31st

Egypt and the International Monetary Fund agree on the conditions for Egypt to raise another two billion dollars in loans. With that sum included, Egypt will have borrowed $ 10 billion since the parties agreed to a loan program in 2016. Government subsidies, for example on fuel and electricity prices, which have cost the Treasury large sums have been removed. For Egypt’s everyday economy, the decisions are sweeping, but the IMF estimates that government debt will fall, that growth in the country’s economy will increase and that the central bank’s measures to curb inflation will have an effect.

Russia and Egypt form closer ties

October 17

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi sign cooperation agreements between Russia and Egypt which – without details – are described as “strategic”. Contacts have been strengthened in recent years despite an incident in 2015, when jihadists in Egypt managed to carry out a bombing attack on an aircraft full of Russian tourists and 224 people died. Direct flights have resumed this year, while charter tourism from Russia is still down. Current cooperation plans include a Russian economic zone on the Suez Canal and Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, which according to a 2015 agreement will be built on the Mediterranean Sea near the old war scene El Alamein.

Severe penalties for attacks on churches

October 11

A military court sentenced 17 defendants to death for a series of assaults on churches that claimed dozens of deaths. At the same time, 19 people are sentenced to life imprisonment and ten to long prison terms. The deed was performed in 2016 and 2017 against churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta. The terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has assumed responsibility for the attacks. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International point out that the Egyptian system’s treatment of suspected criminals, with mass trials, is not legal.

Designated terrorist leader arrested

October 8

Hisham Ashmawy, former army officer but now terrorist, has been arrested in eastern Libya by the militia calling himself the Libyan National Army. He was arrested in the port city of Darnah and must have had a bomb belt on him that he could not release. According to reports to Reuters, he will be released to Egypt, where he will be held responsible for a number of assaults. Ashmawy has been linked to several terrorist groups, especially in Sinai, linked to either the Islamic State or al-Qaeda . According to Egyptian media, he received American education as an elite soldier before being radicalized.


Reduced penalties and free sentences in mass trial

September 23

Muhammad Badie, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is one of 66 people sentenced to life imprisonment for an attack on a police station in Minya 2013. Lifetime in practice means 25 years in Egypt. The judges are notified when 700 people, previously convicted in the case, received a new trial – 183 of them were sentenced to death in the first trial. Now 288 are acquitted, six have passed away since the first trial and the rest receive multi-year sentences. Brotherhood leaders are accused of calling for, among other things, the attack in Minya, after the military forced Islamist President Muhammad Mursi to resign. Badie has been prosecuted in 35 cases and received several death sentences in higher court.

Agreement on future gas pipeline

September 19

Egypt and Cyprus conclude an agreement to draw a pipeline at sea for the transport of gas from the Aphrodite field in the Mediterranean. The recovery has not started from the gas field, which, in addition to Cyprus, also Israel and several international energy companies have shares in. In the extension, further exports to Europe are seen. On the Egyptian pedestal in the sea west of the Aphrodite field, Italian ENI made a large gas discovery in 2015. In the city of Damietta near the Nile Delta, Egypt has a terminal for liquefied natural gas.

Mubarak’s sons are suspected of crime

September 15th

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, sons of former President Hosni Mubarak who were forced to resign in 2011, have been arrested. They are suspected of manipulating stock prices on the stock exchange, but they are released after a few days against the bail pending trial. Before the Arab Spring, Gamal Mubarak was considered the “crown prince”. The father, who is now 90, was released in 2017 from responsibility for protesters’ deaths in 2011. Even the sons have been subject to several legal cases since the old regime fell.

Frozen finances for Islamists

11 September

Egyptian authorities freeze the assets of 1,133 charities linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as 1,589 individual members, 118 companies, 104 schools, 69 hospitals and 33 Internet sites and satellite channels. The Brotherhood was banned and terrorized in late 2013, after the military deposed Islamist President Mursi, who was democratically elected. The death sentences announced earlier this year against the Brotherhood leaders have been described by the United Nations as an abuse of rights.

Death sentences against Islamist leaders are set

September 8

A court sets the death penalty against 75 people, including several of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top leaders. At the same time, life imprisonment is set for 47 others. The judges have arisen in mass trials following demonstrations in Cairo (see July 2013 and 28 July 2018).


Sisi replaces regional leaders

August 30th

President Sisi replaces 22 of 27 governors. Most of the new regional governors are taken from military or police officers. North Sinai, where government forces fight jihadist groups, is one of the areas under new leadership. An odd name is Manal Mikhail, new governor of Damietta in the Nile Delta. She is the first Christian woman in such a post. Since Sisi secured re-election as president in March, he has re-furnished many important items (see June 14 , 2018).

New commission will respond to charges

August 29th

A State Commission on Human Rights has been formed. The aim is, according to the Prime Minister’s Office, to respond to allegations from various quarters that there are violations in Egypt; both UN representatives and NGOs regularly criticize Egyptian authorities. The Foreign Ministry of Egypt will be responsible for the new Commission.

al-Azhar condemns sexual harassment

August 27th

A statement from al-Azhar in Cairo, the leading Sunni Muslim educational institution, states that sexual harassment cannot be justified. They should be seen as prohibited in whatever context, al-Azhar writes, explicitly stating that it applies regardless of how a woman dresses or acts. In a 2017 UN survey, 60 percent of Egyptian women interviewed stated that they had been sexually harassed at some point. The debate has gained momentum in connection with a video on the internet, which shows how a man tries to pick up a woman on a Cairo street. Sexual harassment has been prohibited by law since 2014.

New team stops sites

August 18th

President Sisi signs a law that strengthens state control over the Internet. The police can intervene to block sites that threaten the country’s security or economy. Not only the driver but also the one who visits such a site run the risk of imprisonment or fines, the BBC writes. Organizations promoting freedom of expression claim that the state has blocked over 500 sites even before the law came into force.

Accounts are extinguished after suspected murder in a monastery

August 11th

Two Coptic monks are suspected of murder after a bishop was found dead in Wadi Natrun between Cairo and Alexandria in late July. The Coptic Church has not commented on the case, but according to state news media, monks have been ordered to close their accounts on social media. The Coptic “pope”, patriarch Tawadros, has closed his Facebook page. The Natrundalen and its ancient monastery is an environment that Egypt wants the UN to classify as a World Heritage Site.

300 dead during half-year offensive

5 August

In the last few days, 52 militant extremists have been killed and almost as many arrested on the Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian army said, which, in its habitual faithfulness, describes the groups of forces striking as “extremely dangerous”. Altogether, more than 300 people have been killed in the framework of the jihadist government’s government forces launched in February, al-Jazira reports.


Death sentences in mass trial

July 28

Leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood are among 75 people sentenced to death for taking part in the 2013 wave of protests against President Mursi being forced out of power. The country’s highest religious authority, the Grand Mufti, is to judge whether the judgments are legal. The statements are not legally binding, but are rarely questioned. Death sentences are often converted to life imprisonment. According to Amnesty, more than 800 protesters were killed when the protests broke down. The state points out that 43 police officers were killed.

Military can get impunity for the violence in 2013

July 16

The Egyptian Parliament adopts a new law that can protect high-ranking military commanders from prosecution for the violence that followed after the toppling of then-President Mursi in 2013. The law allows President Sisi to grant military life-long amnesty for crimes committed between July 2013 (when the military overthrew Mursi) and June 2014 (when Sisi was installed as president).


Substantial increase in fuel prices

June 16

The government announces that fuel prices will be raised by between 30 and 50 percent, with immediate effect. Just days before, continued decommissioning of electricity subsidies has led to an increase in electricity prices by around a quarter. The measures are part of the austerity program that Egypt committed in 2016 to borrow money from the IMF .

Great refurbishment in the government

June 14

President Sisi presents a new government with a number of new ministers alongside the new Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli. Two generals are given the heavy post of Secretary of Defense and Home Affairs: the former head of the Republican Guard Mohamed Zaki and the former head of the national security service Mahmoud Tawfiq. New Finance Minister becomes Mohamed Moeit.

New government takes office

7 June

President Sisi appoints former housing minister Mostafa Madbouli as new prime minister, a few days after the resignation of Sharif Ismail.

Sisi swears the oath for the second time

June 2

President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi swears the presidential order and formally begins his second term in office.


Mass charges against suspected terrorists

May 13th

The State Prosecutor states that 278 suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood will be brought before the military court, accused of terrorism. Just days before, it was announced that 555 people are facing military court suspects of belonging to a group on the Sinai Peninsula with links to the Islamic State . Of those now charged, 141 are in custody. The suspicions relate to two militant groups, Lewaa al-Thawra and Hasam, who are suspected of attacks and murders by, among other things, an army general and several police officers.


The former national accountant is sentenced to prison

April 25

Former state accountant Hisham Geneina is sentenced by a military court to five years in prison for “spreading news that harms the military”. Geneina was arrested in February for allegedly having access to secret documents revealing illegal acts performed by high-ranking army leaders. Geneina had threatened to publish the documents if something happened to Sani Anan – the former chief of defense who was arrested when he announced his intention to stand in the presidential election (see January 23, 2018). Geneina, who was thought of as Anan’s Vice Presidential candidate, was deposed as the Auditor General and sentenced to prison in 2016 after accusing authorities of extensive corruption (see July 28, 2016).

“IS action threatens to trigger humanitarian crisis”

April 23

The military’s efforts against Islamists mainly on the Sinai Peninsula threaten to cause a humanitarian crisis, Human Rights Watch warns in a statement. The offensive, which began on February 9, has led to up to 420,000 residents in four cities now in urgent need of assistance, as severe restrictions apply to the transport of both people and goods in the next entire province of North Sinai. Around 200 jihadists and over 30 soldiers have been killed in the ongoing operation, according to army records.

Sisi’s victory secured

2 April

The results of the presidential election are presented a week after the three election days: President Sisi is reported to have received just over 97 percent of the vote, against just under 3 percent for Musa Mustafa Musa. The turnout is 41 percent.


The presidential election begins

March 26

President Sisi himself is among the first to cast his vote when the first of three election days begins. Since the election result is considered given, the only question mark is how large the turnout will be.

Two police officers killed in assaults on security officer

24th of March

The Alexandria security chief survives an explosive attack which, however, requires the lives of two police officers. The following day, police shot six people suspected of lying behind the attack. According to the police, they belonged to the militant Islamist movement Hasam, which is accused of being the armed branch of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Free Trade Agreement in Africa

21 March

Egypt is one of 44 Member States of the African Union (AU) that signs an agreement to set up an African Free Trade Area, AFCFTA .

Huge joint project with Saudi Arabia

March 5th

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have created a $ 10 billion joint fund to develop a mega-city along the Saudi-Jordanian border. It is revealed in connection with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visiting Egypt. The plans to build the city of Neom, which will constitute an independent economic zone, were presented in Saudi Arabia in the fall of 2017. It now appears that Egypt will lease land and be a part of the project.


Government critics are labeled as terrorist

February 20th

At the request of the prosecutor, the government critic and Islamist Abdelmoneim Abul-Fotouh is placed on a terrorist list. It happens a few days after he has been arrested and detained (see also January 30, 2018). Abul-Fotouh is accused of spreading false information about Egypt and joining an illegal group. He must also have had contact abroad with members of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, of which he himself was a leader. Another 15 people are said to have been placed on the list, but it is unknown who they are. A few days later, Abul-Fotouh is reported to have had his assets frozen.

The presidential election is judged by MR groups

February 13

Fourteen human rights organizations say in a joint statement that there are no conditions for a free and fair presidential election in March. The government is accused of strangling all fundamental freedoms and seizing potential candidates. Both domestic and international organizations support the statement published by Human Rights Watch .

Offensive against jihadists

February 13

The military states that 38 Islamists have been killed since a major campaign was launched on February 9, against extremist groups on the Sinai Peninsula, in the central Nile Delta and in the Libyan desert. Ten of them are described as “extremely dangerous” and have been killed in gunfire near El-Arish on the Sinai Peninsula. The weapons and vehicles must also have been destroyed and more than 500 people arrested in a concerted effort involving ground forces, the Air Force, the Navy, the Coast Guard and the police. President Sisi has ordered security to be restored in the troubled areas following the bloody mosque attack in Bir-al-Abd (see November 2017). The New York Times newspaper recently reported that Israeli fighter planes also carried out air strikes in Egypt with Sisi’s good memory – something Egypt denied and Israel did not comment on.


Election boycott requests

30th of January

Eight opposition parties and 150 leading public figures are calling for a boycott of the presidential election in March, as no one is seriously challenging President Sisi. Only one candidate has been approved at the end of the registration period: Musa Mustafa Musa, who heads the Liberal Party Ghad. All other potential candidates have withdrawn or been suspended. Hamdin Sabbahi, who was presidential candidate in 2012 and 2014, is one of the people who formed what they call a “citizen movement” and is behind the boycott. A few days earlier, five other senior executives have also called for boycotts, including Abdelmoneim Abul-Fotouh, who was also a 2012 candidate, and Mohamed Anwar Sadat (nephew of ex-president Anwar Sadat), who himself recently decided not to post up in the election citing concerns about the safety of their supporters.

Yet another departure from the presidential election

January 24th

A senior human rights lawyer, Khaled Ali, announces that he is withdrawing from the presidential election after his supporters have been harassed. Khaled Ali, who has not formally registered as a candidate, is critical of the electoral authority and says irregularities are occurring.

General who would challenge the Sisi arrest

January 23

Former Defense Secretary Sami Anan is arrested a few days after he announced his intention to run for president in March. Anan is accused of breaking military rules through the announcement. Some 30 of his employees and some of their family members must also have been arrested. Anan was Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces 2005–2012.

Sisi is up for re-election

January 19

President Sisi finally confirms all that he expects to run for re-election in the March presidential election. The message comes at a conference where Sisi describes what he accomplished during his four years in power.

The intelligence chief kicked

January 18

President Sisi dismisses the head of the powerful intelligence service, General Khaled Fawzy, and appoints his chief of staff and close ally General Abbas Kamel as acting replacement. No reason is stated.

Date ready for presidential election

January 8

The first round of the presidential election will be held March 26-29, states the head of the election authority. If a second round of elections is needed, April 24-26 will be held. Candidates can register January 20-29. Most point to the fact that the incumbent President Sisi stands and wins already in the first round.

Shafiq jumps off the presidential election

7 th of January

Former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq states that he does not intend to stand in the presidential election because he has realized that he is not the best person to lead the country (see also December 2017). Thus, everything points to President Sisi being without serious challenge in the upcoming elections.

Egypt Agriculture and Fishing