Posted: Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:00 AM
Egypt buys about $2.2 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products annually, making it our eighth largest ag export market, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
Wheat, corn and soybeans are the main items with recent growth in corn, soybeans and dairy products.
Egypt is a leader and strong supporter in development and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology, according to the FAS. Egypt planted genetically modified corn in 2008.
Approximately one-third of the Egyptian labor force is engaged directly in farming, according to the U.S. State Department.
Nearly all of Egypt's ag production is on 6 million acres of fertile soil in the Nile River valley and delta. Some desert lands are being developed for agriculture as some of the Nile valley and delta is lost to urbanization and erosion.
Cotton, rice, wheat, corn, sugarcane, sugar beets, onions and beans are the main crops.
The Aswan High Dam, started in 1952 and completed in 1970, controls the Nile flow. It interrupted yearly natural fertilization and increased soil salinity. Both have been manageable problems, according to the State Department.
Benefits of the dam include more intensive farming on millions of acres with improved irrigation, prevention of flood damage and generation of abundant low-cost electricity.
The Western Desert, about two-thirds of the country's land area, includes some areas that have become important irrigated agricultural areas.
-- Dan Wheat