Prices of agricultural fertilisers rose sharply with a tonne of urea hitting EGP 7,000 compared to EGP 3,290 according to the official prices, and a tonne of nitrates hitting EGP 6,500 compared to the official price of EGP 3,190 EGP. Further rises over the next several months are expected.
The recent price rise doubles the suffering of Egyptian farmers as it comes just after the rise of energy prices, leading to an increase in the cost of the crops. On the other hand, the rise will influence the prices of agricultural products for the final consumers, including prices of cattle and poultry fodders.
“The historical rise of the price of fertiliser resulted mainly from the increased demand during the summer, which reached 2.4 million tonnes,” said Hussein Abu Saddam, head of the farmers’ union. “The farmers are obliged to buy fertilisers on the black market out of governmental control.” Abu Saddam added that the fertiliser companies do not supply its full stocks to the ministry of agriculture, so the ministry fails to provide sufficient subsidised fertilisers to the farmers. In addition, corruption inside the ministry leads the subsidised fertilisers to be sold illegally on the black market.
Egyptian agriculture has suffered since October 2014, when the government decided to increase the price of subsidised fertilisers by 33 per cent. Later on, increases did not stop. It is noteworthy that fertiliser companies have to supply 75 per cent of their total products to the ministry of agriculture to be provided with subsidies to the farmers, while the remaining product, 25 per cent, is exported.
After the international rise of fertiliser prices which hit $550 for a tonne, the government permitted the companies to raise its exports by five per cent to 15 per cent of its total products.