A recommendation from Egypt’s government – to eat chicken feet – has come under vehement criticism from the country’s citizens.
Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, is currently experiencing a record currency crisis and the highest inflation in five years, which has made food so costly that many Egyptians are no longer able to purchase chicken, a staple item.
The most recent dietary advice from the state recommended preparing chicken feet, a protein-rich part of the bird that is often kept for dogs and cats, according to a BBC report published yesterday.
Egypt is one of the countries suffering the most from skyrocketing inflation, which surpassed 30 percent in March.
Cooking oil and cheese, which were once reasonable necessities for many, have become unaffordable luxuries. Some product prices have doubled or tripled within a matter of months.
The BBC report quoted Wedad, a mother of three in her 60s, as saying: “I eat meat once a month, or I don’t buy it at all. I buy chicken once a week.”
Egypt is under a lot of strain in part because it relies significantly on imported food rather than homegrown agriculture to support its over 100 million-strong population.
Even the grain used to feed the chicken is imported.
In comparison to the US dollar, the Egyptian pound lost half of its value over the course of a year. As the government depreciated the currency once more in January, the price of imports such as grain rose dramatically.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi frequently attributes his country's present economic troubles on the chaos that preceded the 2011 Egyptian revolt and fast population growth. In addition, he mentions the epidemic that followed the conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine had a devastating effect on Egyptian economy. Egypt is the second largest wheat importer in the world, and the two countries were its principal suppliers. As a result of the disruption of exports due to the war, price of wheat and bread skyrocketed.
Russian and Ukrainian tourists used to visit Egypt in droves; the tourism industry has also suffered financial losses. Tourism, which used to account for around 5% of Egypt’s GDP, has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Egypt has requested a bailout from the International Monetary Fund four times in the previous six years due to its economic difficulties. These debts, which account for 90% of GDP, consume nearly half of the state’s revenues.
Gulf nations such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have purchased state assets and are aiding Egypt, but they have also toughened their requirements for future investments.