The cabinet’s spokesperson Ashraf Soltan on Sunday denied to Daily News Egypt rumours of an impending price hike for agricultural fertiliser. On Saturday, according to local media an anonymous official said the government plans to raise the price of agricultural fertiliser by 50% on Sunday, attributing the price increase to the flotation of the Egyptian pound and the fact that all of the components required to produce fertiliser are imported.
Soltan said the government has no plans to increase the price of fertilisers, adding that they are closely studying the situation in order to ensure the government makes the right decision.
The Ministry of Agriculture on Saturday also issued a statement denying the rumours, adding that the price of a 50kg bag of urea fertiliser currently costs EGP 100, while a 50kg bag of nitrate fertiliser costs EGP 95.
The ministry emphasised that resellers should not burden farmers with a price hike.
Daily News Egypt spoke to two agriculture experts about the possible ramifications of a price hike.
Gamal Seyam, a professor of agricultural economics at Cairo University, said that such a decision would increase the price of all fruits and vegetables. He believes that agricultural fertiliser companies have the right to increase the price of their products, adding that all of the necessary components for producing fertiliser are imported, and thus have been affected by the flotation of the pound.
He emphasised the importance of comparing the local agricultural fertiliser prices with global prices to see if Egyptian fertilisers are cheaper or comparable to global norms.
Seyam said that raising the cost of fertiliser would affect the price of all foodstuffs, vegetables in particular. He explained that vegetables require more fertiliser than grains, and estimating potential price increases for these products would be very difficult.
Khaled Abou Ismael, a member of the Agricultural Export Council said that there are no serious discussions on this topic. He warned that people would not be able to absorb any new price increases given the current economic climate.
He believes that the price of almost everything has already increased by 50% or more, and so increasing the cost of agricultural fertilisers at this moment in time would be unwise.