WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — With a goal of achieving food security in Egypt, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction (EBRD) and the Egyptian government teamed up in a forum.

The forum brought together policymakers, finance institutions, producers associations, agribusiness companies, focusing on improving food system efficiency.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Jan. 8 report, the forum agreed that Egypt will remain the world’s largest importer of wheat, and remain a large importer of yellow corn for feed and soybean for the next five years.

The forum included a signed commitment to improve food security, to partner on joint activities promoting sustainable agriculture investment in Egypt.

“Egypt is facing challenges in the agricultural sector, such as: rapidly growing population; land fragmentation; urban encroachment on agricultural lands; limited water resources; and the need for more health nutritious food,” the report said. “Despite challenges such as these, forum participants remain optimistic about Egypt’s future agricultural productivity.”

Some of the major takeaways from the forum include:       

• The government is working to streamline import regulations and procedures to minimize disruptions to the Egypt’s grain trade.

• The need for outreach programs and educational events for promoting good ag practices, management practices and biosecurity.

• Improve coordination between the government and private sector for creating a more conducive environment to help boost horticultural exports.

Egypt’s population is expected to surpass 100 million by 2021 and reach 117 million by 2030, making Egypt the fifteenth largest country in the world in terms of population and also the world’s fastest growing food markets.

“Egypt however is a price-sensitive market, it continues to struggle due to government austerity measures, soaring youth unemployment and double-digit inflation, averaging 27% in 2017, but forecast to drop to 18% in 2018,” the report said.