Egypt spends more than LE1 bn on farmers over 3 years

Ahram Online, Sunday 4 Aug 2013

Finance ministry says govt is showing support to small-scale farmers by pledging LE473.2 mn in current fiscal year 2013/14

Farmers harvest rice in El edoueh village (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt has spent more than one billion Egyptian pounds to support small-scale farmers during the current fiscal year 2013/14 and over the past two fiscal years, the finance ministry said.

The government has pledged LE473.2 million in the current fiscal year 2013/14, which began in July, compared to LE183.9 million in the previous fiscal year 2012/13, the ministry said in a statement released on Sunday.

According to the statement, part of the support worth around LE113 million has been the value of debt cancellations for Egypt's small-scale farmers suffering from loan delinquency.

Ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi announced in September 2012 that all farmers' outstanding debts below LE10,000 taken from Egypt's Development and Agricultural Credit Bank (DACB) would be cancelled.

Morsi has seemingly failed to meet his promise as farmers said the debt cancellations are only being applied to non-performing – i.e. delinquent – loans.

''It is not true what some people say that we will only write off debts of the farmers who cannot pay. We will not punish the serious ones ... all unpaid debts of less than LE10,000 will be cancelled," Morsi said during his speech marking Farmers Day in September.

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