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"Death on the Nile": 20% of Egyptians experience food insecurity

Food insecurity in Egypt is a result of “structural issues in the food supply system”, according to a report by Future Directions International.
The Australian independent, non-profit research institute Future Directions International released a report entitled “Death on the Nile: Egypt’s Burgeoning Food and Water Security Crisis”, in which FDI Associate Lauren Power looked into the potential threats to food and water supply in Egypt.

While touching upon the severity of the shifting geostrategic balance between the Nile Basin countries, Power states that “one in five Egyptians is currently experiencing food insecurity as a result of structural issues in the food supply system”. The shift in relations amongst countries on the Nile is likely to cost Egypt part of its share in the Nile’s flow, which is the country’s only renewable water source.

Additionally, the increasing gap between Egypt’s estimated population growth and the country’s long-term agricultural production potential only feeds into food insecurity.

The author states that “Egypt’s food imports will have to increase to meet future food needs, but trade-based food security may not be viable in the long-term if Egypt can’t mend its struggling economy.”

The main reasons behind food insecurity are rising poverty, wasteful food production and distribution systems, and exposure to price volatility. In 2011, 17% of the Egyptian population were food-insecure, which is 14% higher than two years earlier. Today, more than 40% of a household’s income is spent on food.

As a solution to food insecurity in Egypt, Power suggests regional cooperation on water supply, reforms in the subsidy systems and comprehensive waste reduction.