Addressing his audience of fellaheen (farmers), President Mohamed Morsy echoed former President Gamal Abdel Nasser, saying “I’m one of you in terms of roots and upbringing.”
In his speech on Tuesday commemorating farmers’ day, Morsy praised Egypt’s fellaheen, stating that “Egypt’s farmers were the first to rebel against tyranny 4,000 years ago.”
Presidential spokesman, Yasser Ali said earlier yesterday that the president is keen to join Egyptian farmers in celebrating their farmers’ day. Ali indicated that recent decisions including forgiving farmers’ debts and buying crops at prices that almost reach international ones are reflective of the government’s efforts to alleviate the hardship inflicted upon Egypt’s destitute fellaheen.
The president announced that all fellaheen’ debts which are less than EGP 10,000 will be forgiven, and he urged the Bank of Development and Agricultural Credit (BDAC) to swiftly implement his decision.
“Currently we’re studying the dossiers of farmers whose debts exceed EGP 10,000,” Morsy stated. Though, he added in colloquial Egyptian that “whoever defaults next year shall repay the old debts.”
During his campaign and after he took office Morsy pledged to drop farmers’ debts, which amount to EGP 1.9 billion, split between investment debts totalling EGP 520 million, and agricultural debt totalling EGP 400 million.
In his speech Morsy also stated that the yields of wheat has increased by 1.5 million tonnes, while rice yields amounted to eight million tonnes at EGP 2000 per tonne for slim grains and EGP 2050 per tonne for wide grains. These prices are less than the international prices for rice, which stood at EGP 3523.1 per tonne. Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Salah Abdel Momen reportedly stated that the government will buy rice from farmers at international prices to support farmers.
Egypt’s rural population was reported to number 57.20 million in 2010. They represent up to half of Egypt’s workforce. They also represent a vital electoral bloc capable of deciding any elections’ turnout.