Written Paper

Arab Republic of Egypt - Toward Agricultural Competitiveness in the 21st Century : An Agricultural Export-Oriented Strategy  [2001]

World Bank

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The report proposes key elements for an agricultural export-oriented strategy in Egypt, that would build on the achievements of the agricultural strategy during the 1990s. Substantial improvements in the country's macroeconomic environment, following policy reforms - though necessary - have not been sufficient to improve agricultural export performance. Overall, while Egyptian agricultural production increased during the 90s, agricultural exports remained low, and, the fact that both Egyptian production, and world market trends are substantially less volatile, is a first indicator of the potential to increase agricultural exports. The proposed agricultural export strategy starts with an analysis of the agricultural export potential in the country, which includes a review on the overall agricultural export performance; an analysis of the incentive framework in agriculture, including estimates of the current nominal, and effective protection rates of key imports, and exports, and, the estimated effects of alternative agricultural, and trade policy reform scenarios, on the returns to farming in alternative crops. This analysis identifies two agricultural sub-sectors - cotton and horticultural crops - from which Egypt, contingent on policy reforms, could benefit from potentially substantial comparative advantages in trade. Based on the recognition that export promotion requires a mix of sector-wide, and sub-sector specific reforms, the
rational focus of the report was to identify the main impediments of export growth in the cotton, and horticultural sectors. The report further offers suggestions to phasing in reforms, so that policies increasing farming returns in exports, precede those that will decrease (absolute) returns in competing crops.