Egypt is the most important rice market in the North Africa region. Due to its available land base on the banks of the river Nile, the country produces most of the rice in North Africa. The Nile’s waters are used extensively to irrigate rice crops. The North Africa region, led by Egypt, accounts for one-third of the rice demand in Africa. The majority of rice in Egypt is produced in lower Nile river areas. The country’s rice supply is recorded at 60.9 kg paddy/capita/year. Due to higher demand compared to production, the region is highly import-dependent for rice. The Middle East and Africa together account for nearly half of the total rice trade. In North Africa, Egypt is the only country that produces enough for its domestic and export demand, reaching 100% self-sufficiency.
Key Market Trends
Rice Production Analysis
As per FAO, In 2018, rice production accounts for 4900 thousand tons which decrease by 1.2% as compared to last year which accounts for 4960 tons of rice. The production of rice is constantly decreasing in Egypt because Egypt is reducing the cultivation of water-consuming crops such as rice, raising concern about a deterioration of the quality of the country's most fertile farmland. Rice consumes about two and a half times the water needed to cultivate Wheat and other crops and henceforth government has taken initiatives to reduce the production of Rice in the region. Egypt imposed an intermittent rice export ban since 2008 to preserve stocks for domestic markets. The decision is designed not only to save water but also to find a balance between the production and consumption of rice. Production currently exceeds consumption by one million tons annually.
Egypt Dominates the Import Market in Terms of Value
Due to the low production of rice and to meet the domestic requirement, the Government of Egypt imports rice mainly from China, India, Thailand, and Russia. Egypt imports 60,704 tons of rice in 2018 whereas, in 2017, the import of rice accounts for 58.902 which increase by 3.06%. Due to water shortage in Egypt region, water-consuming crops such as rice cultivation have been affected. This has resulted in the government importing rice from major rice-growing countries such as India, which accounts for 25,000 tons of rice of export to Egypt.
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