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Publication | 18 May 2021

Impact of COVID-19 on Egypt’s dairy and artichoke value-chains: Qualitative findings from rapid value chain assessments

Global Food and Nutrition Security

This report discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the overall Egyptian economy from a macro perspective, presents two case studies on its impacts on specific value chains, and assesses the relative advantages of different investment alternatives to support agricultural growth in the context of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. For estimating the economy wide and sectoral impact of COVID-19, we employ a Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) multiplier model of Egypt’s economy. Using this model, COVID-19 is estimated to have resulted in an 8.6 percent decline in Egypt’s GDP during the period of most intense disruption during the spring quarter of 2020. To understand in detail the impact of COVID-19 on selected agricultural value chains, we conducted a rapid assessment using telephone interviews with several actors in the dairy and the artichoke value chains. In the dairy sector, respondents reported that the curfew forced milk collection centers to reduce their working hours, limiting the number of milk deliveries farmers could make, and resulting in lower revenue for them. While this disruption adversely affected the entire value chain, it highlighted the importance of the private sector which was more flexible to adapt to the curfews. In the artichoke sector, respondents reported that lockdown restrictions in Egypt’s prime artichoke markets (Italy, Spain, and the United States) resulted in a negative demand shock for producers, adversely affecting the whole artichoke cluster in El-Beheira, our study area. With almost no demand in the local market for artichoke, the negative impacts highlight the importance of promoting access to new international markets, as well as investing in final processing and higher value-added products, such as frozen, preserved, and packaged artichoke. Finally, to generate additional insights for post-COVID-19 recovery options, we use IFPRI’s Rural Investment and Policy Analysis and Agriculture Investment Data Analyzer (RIAPA-AIDA) economy wide model for Egypt to evaluate the potential impacts of public investment options on the development of the agri-food system. We rank investment options according to their impact on several different goals. This analysis shows that increased investment in agricultural research and development has the greatest potential impact on poverty and GDP, increased resources for agricultural extension services has the highest impact on dietary diversity, and expanded land reclamation has the greatest impact on increasing employment.