Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza stated that Egypt produces 5.7 million tons of "low quality" milk every year, even though the country has one of the lowest annual milk consumption rates in the world at an average of only 17 kilos per capita.
At a meeting of parliament’s industrial committee on agricultural development Sunday, Abaza also said that Egypt did not produce enough meat, "which we must compensate for by producing more fish and poultry."
The minister also noted that 80 percent of irrigation water currently goes towards old arable land that produces 55 percent of Egypt’s total crop yield, while only 20 percent is used to irrigate newly-reformed land that produces 45 percent of Egypt’s total yield. "That’s why we limited sugar cane cultivation to only 350,000 acres–because it consumes so much water," he said.
Abaza went on to say that problems associated with construction on agricultural land had been largely exaggerated. "Nevertheless, new legislation will soon eliminate the practice," he said.
At the meeting, Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohi Eddin took other ministries to task for being too slow in granting licenses for the establishment of private companies. "My ministry issues licenses in 48 hours," he said.
Mohi Eddin went on to call for the creation of a specialized agricultural stock exchange and for allowing all banks to provide agricultural loans, which are currently granted only by the public-sector Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.