Egypt’s Incorporation in EU’s Agricultural Policies: Cost and Reward
The European Union is the largest trade partner with Egypt. Egypt’s volume of trade with the EU stands at 42% of the country’s total external trade, while the EU volume of trade with Egypt is about 0.004 of the total external trade of EU members. The share of Egypt’s agriculture sector in the country’s GDP reached EGP11.3billion, of which EGP21.1million only were from the public sector. In 2009/2010, the agricultural sector participated with 13.2% of the countries EGP837.8billion GDP. Agriculture in the private sector participates with about 20.9% of the total production of the whole sector. The share of the agricultural sector in exports amounts to 18.3%; plants production 10.6% and livestock, poultry and fisheries 7.7%. The European agricultural policy is based on an important principle, which says that achieving comprehensive rural development requires implementation of a series of economic, social and political balanced measures. To implement these measures, the current situation must be evaluated to pinpoint existing challenges. These measures vary according to region and needs. Ensuring rural development is based on sustainability of natural resources and institutions, the active participation of people in rural areas, participation of civil society in decision-making and decentralization in various jobs at all levels of the regional hierarchy. The Europeans say that rural development is stumbling due to the lack of the institutional and legislative framework, the absent role of agricultural cooperatives, fragmentation of landholding, lack of crop rotation and problems related to agricultural input such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. The paper focuses on policies, which Egypt should adopt to maximize opportunities and minimize risks of incorporation in European agricultural policies. First: Egypt’s Agricultural Policy in the Current Political Situation In 2003, the EU announced the adoption of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), which complements the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). ENP includes bilateral work plans between the EU and neighboring countries, including Egypt, covering several sectors including agriculture and cooperation to implement the following agricultural reforms in line with article 50 of the EPA: - Define and choose necessary methods to provide structural, institutional, legal and administrative support to facilitate access to export markets by trying to converge technical laws, especially in terms of international specifications for agricultural goods and processed agricultural products; - Define and choose necessary methods for rural development, including quality of products, food safety, organic products and geographical indicators in the framework of domestic legislations. This will boost trade and efficient use of water; - Define and choose necessary methods to encourage private investment; - Exchange of expertise to bolster administrative aspects related to agricultural holdings; - Bolster the role of agricultural research centers to improve productivity, food safety and crops quality; - Improve cooperation with European research centers, especially on genetic engineering and biotechnology; - Encourage the use of modern technology in agricultural various stages of production; - Share information on agricultural policies and the exchange of experts and expertise; - The work plan on Phytosanitary aims to add the element of food safety for Egyptian and European consumers, through reforms and improvement regarding health and Phytosanitary.
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