Population and food resources in Menoufiya, Egypt
The problem of the relationship between population and food supply in Menoufiya is a small scale example of that facing the whole of Egypt. The main problem is not as a result of insufficient production of food from the land, but as a result of continuously increasing population with high density which causes pressure on the limited cultivated land. It is important to understand the population characteristics of Menoufiya, which are even distribution of high density; high fertility; a high proportion working in agricultural activities; a majority of young people; and high illiteracy especially among females and farmers. One response to increasing population has been heavy out-migration to the large cities of Egypt. Despite the fact that Menoufiya is facing a great problem in increasing food production caused by decreasing acreage of land; frag mentation of farms; disguised unemployment; limited machinery and increased landless, the region is one of the main agricultural regions in Egypt. It is characterized by one of the highest productivities for food among the governorates of Egypt, because of the excellent environmental conditions - fertile soils with flat surface, abundant water of good quality from the Nile and its canals, and warm temperatures which permit year-round plant growth and the intensive system of farming. The main food crops in the region are maize, wheat, broad and soya beans covering about 50 per cent of the total cropped area. Vegetables are grown all the year-round, especially potatoes, tomatoes and beans. In addition, the region is one of the main producers of : fruit such as citrus, grapes and bananas. There is a large area cultivated with clover as a fodder for animals in winter, but animal feed is in chronic short supply especially in summer. The study of food production in Menoufiya shows that it is abundant and increasing, being able to feed the dense population of the region as well as some of these in major urban centres especially Greater Cairo in most vegetables, fruit, and animal products. In fact, there is no shortage of the majority of foodstuffs (except for wheat) in the region at the present time, but the problem may become more acute in the future as the population will increase more rapidly than food production. The solution of the problem of population and food resources in Menoufiya - as well as in Egypt - must be sought both in accelerating the development of agricultural processes and in slowing down the growth of population through social and economic development. Such development is not in isolation, for Menoufiya provides migrants to Egypt's large cities and to some other Middle Eastern countries. So the problem is not just one of a man-land ratio, but of population in relation to total available resources.