12 May 1998
New law threatens Egyptian tenants
THE livelihoods of about a million Egyptian tenant farmers are under threat from a new law allowing land owners to charge market rents and deny tenants the right to pass land on to their children.
Those at risk are tiny tenant farmers cultivating 2-3 acres each. Critics say encouraging fewer and bigger landowners, whose interest is to grow food for export, will mean less fertile ground to grow basic foodstuffs such as rice and wheat. Egypt already spends $3bn a year on food imports.
Mahmoud Abdel-Fadil, economics professor at Cairo University, believes the new law threatens the social fabric of rural life in Egypt by turning tenant farmers into landless labourers.
- Financial Times (Egypt Survey) 12/05/98 page XV