No increase in agricultural subsidies, says Egypt's finance minister

Ahram Online, Thursday 11 Aug 2011

The government is mulling issuing an insurance policy for agricultural risks, says finance minister on Wednesday in a meeting with representatives of farmers' syndicate

The agricultural insurance policy would make life easier for farmers (Photo by Mai Shaheen)
There was bad news for farmers this week, as Egypt's finance minister ruled out an increased to agricultural subsidies in the immediate future.
Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Hazem El-Beblawi, said in a meeting with the farmers' syndicate on Wednesday that the current state budget was could not bear any further financial burdens. 
But he added the government would be more capable of upping subsidies to the agricultural sector when financial conditions improve in the "following period."
Beblawi, who is expected to stay only until a new government is elected within the next four months, did not set a time frame for his promise.
The Minister of Finance held the Wednesday meeting with representatives of the farmers’ syndicat to discuss a number of issues facing the agricultural sector.
He stressed the importance of agriculture as Egypt's main provider of foodstuffs and a pillar of the economy, according to a statement sent to Ahram Online. 
During the meeting, Beblawi discussed issuing insurance policies to cover the Egyptian agricultural sector, realise social solidarity among employees and limit risks faced by small farming activities.
Among the attendants was Minister of Agriculture, Salah El-Sayed Youssef, who said financial assistance of LE100 per feddan would continue to be paid to farmers to combat cotton pests. 
He also mentioned the possibility of subsidised interest rates for agricultural loans from the Development and Agricultural Credit Bank.
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