Review of Agricultural Policy Evolution, Agricultural Data Sources, and Food Supply and Demand Studies in Egypt, A

Ibrahim Soliman, Jacinto F. Fabiosa, Halah Bassiony
March 2010  [10-WP 506]

Over the years the control of the Government of Egypt on the agricultural sector has increasingly weakened with the progressive elimination of the input subsidy, area control, price control, procurement control, and the constraints in private sector participation in processing and trade. The only remaining major government involvement is the food subsidy in some wheat products, the "baladi" bread subsidy in particular.

Policy analysis studies in Egypt have been made possible because the Government of Egypt collects and publishes significant amounts of agricultural data on a regular basis. Two of the most widely used data sets are the Household Budget Survey conducted and published by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, and the Food Balance Sheet, which is derived and published by the Ministry of Agriculture. However, differences among various data sources remain and need to be harmonized.

A number of studies have been conducted to estimate food supply and demand parameters (i.e., elasticities) using mostly the two previously mentioned data sets. However, the range of elasticity estimates in these studies is rather wide. For example, price elasticity estimates classify animal products in the range of inelastic to elastic with respect to price, and as necessity to luxury with respect to income. This lack of precision makes these parameters less useful for policy analysis purposes. Further investigations are needed to pinpoint the source of these differences—whether it is due to data, model specification, or estimation techniques —so corrective measures can be applied to improve their precision. Only then can credible policy analysis be conducted using these parameters.

Keywords: agricultural data, agricultural policy, Egypt, elasticity, supply and demand.

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