Impacts of Irrigation on Agricultural Productivity in Egypt
This paper investigates the impacts of the main primary production factors (e.g., seeds, nitrogen, phosphorus, etc.), on the total production of the main crops in Egypt (Cotton, berseem, maize, rice and wheat), with special emphasis on the role of irrigation. Specifically, it estimates the isoquant curves of irrigation water and fertilizer factors of productivity for these crops and assesses the value of marginal products of irrigation water with special emphasis on elasticity of the production factors and the economics of returns to scale. Farm level data for 2011-2012 were collected for a sample of 152 producers in South El Husainia Plain, Egypt. The data was used to estimate the Cobb-Douglass production function and isoquant curves. Empirical findings showed increasing returns to scale for berseem and cotton, but decreasing returns to scale for wheat, rice and maize production was identified. The irrigation water productivity for wheat, rice, cotton and maize has been relatively low. Overall, marginal productivity of irrigation water for the studied crops, especially for cotton, has been low. This implies that farmers may be over-irrigating, and suggests that farmers could increase the production of these crops by applying water more efficiently. This highlights the need to enhance the governmental programs for more efficient water management and allocation.