Food crisis strangling Egypt’s economy

After oil, rice and medicines, sugar has run out in Egypt, as the country has announced a devaluation of 48% of its currency. In Egypt, about 68 million of the total 92 million people receive food subsidized by the State through small consumer stores run by the Ministry of supply and internal trade. After shortages of oil, rice and milk, and even medicines, now sugar scarcity has hit the country. Nearly three quarters of the population completely rely on the government stores for their basic needs.

Egypt produces 2 million tons of sugar a year but has to import a three million to face domestic demand. However imports have become too expensive.  The country is expected to receive a loan of 12 billion dollars (11 billion euros) from the International monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle its food scarcity. The price for sugar in supermarkets and black markets are skyrocketing as well, with a kilogram costing around 15 pounds. If available, one could get sugar from subsidized government stores for 0.50 euros per kilo.

Since the beginning of the shortage, the sugar traffic exploded. Facing this shortage and the growing exasperation of the population, inflation has currently reached 14%. The sugar crisis is linked to the dollar, confirms Mohamed Gad; Director of research at the Egyptian Center for economic and social rights (ECESR).According to him, the situation can only get worse. Egyptian reserves in dollars are down as well. It amounted to 19.6 billion in September, which was 50 percent less than in 2011, before the fall of then president Hosni Moubarak.