Egyptian Food Insecurity Under Water Shortage and Its Socioeconomic Impacts

  • Nader Noureldeen Mohamed
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 74)


Egypt is not plentiful in agriculture resources, whereby the total cultivated land is only 3.6 million ha, and total renewable freshwater is only 62 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM) for 93 million people. The water shortage in Egypt exceeds 30 BCM/year with Egypt’s water share per capita being 674 m/year. This severe shortage of water resources and arable lands in addition to growing population are one of the reasons why Egypt is one of the largest food importers in the world. Egypt is the biggest importer of wheat (12 million tons/year), and fourth importer of maize at 8.5 million tons/year and the seventh biggest importer of edible oils in the world, with a gap, reached 100% of lentil, 70% of broad bean, and 32% of sugar and 60% of red meat, butter, and milk powder. There are several impacts of food and water insecurity and socioeconomic impacts such as the soaring price of food, and small and tiny farm. More than 80% of land tenure and ownership is less than 0.8 ha in addition to very low share land per capita not exceeding 0.14 acres and continuous increase in poverty rate, which reached 27.8% at the end of the year 2016. To deal with this food insecurity, Egypt counts on major reclamation projects for an addition of more than 1 million acres as an extension to the present agricultural land located in North Sinai, at Toshka in the southwest valley and the Oweinat project in the far south of the western desert near the border with Libya. Agriculture related policies in Egypt should be reformed to plan and advance increased food production especially the essential crops such as wheat, maize, sugar, lentils and broad bean, oilseed, and meat and dairy products. Moreover, Egypt should make serious efforts to find new sources of water to combat water shortage, which may include untraditional sources such as desalination of seawater, treated sewage and treated industry water, and reclaimed agricultural drainage water, and also develop and renovate the whole agricultural system.


Agriculture reform Arable lands Egypt Food insecurity Land reclamation Poverty level Small and tiny farm Socioeconomic impacts Water shortage 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil and Water Sciences, Faculty of AgricultureCairo UniversityGizaEgypt

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