Economic and food security benefits associated with raised-bed wheat production in Egypt
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Countries in the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region are dependent on imports of wheat to meet their food security needs. Mechanized raised-bed wheat production is an effective means of increasing productivity and saving scarce water, but the technology needs substantial adaptation to local conditions. This paper estimates the economic benefits from a long-term adaptive research project designed to adapt and promote mechanical raised-bed wheat production in Egypt. The technology itself is associated with a 25% increase in productivity due to higher yields, 50% lower seed costs, a 25% reduction in water use, and lower labor costs. The mechanical raised-bed program is now a component of Egypt’s national wheat campaign and it is estimated that by 2023 approximately 800,000 ha of wheat will be planted with the technology. This paper estimates that over a 15 year project horizon, the benefits will exceed US$ 4 billion, with most of the benefits accruing to more than one million Egyptian wheat producers. Other benefits include reduced wheat imports (by more than 50% by 2025), reduced dependence on international commodity markets and increased productivity on more than 200,000 ha of water-starved lands.
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