Egypt, crow’s feet against hunger: storm over government advice

“They are rich in protein and should be eaten by everyone”

Other than leftovers for dogs and cats. Chicken feet are rich in protein and should be eaten by everyone, as advised by the Egyptian government. A way to fight hunger and respond to families who, in the face of an increasingly strong economic crisis, struggle to feed their families. But also an ‘institutional’ nutritional advice that has angered many, increasing criticism of the government.

What is certain is that, with inflation above 30 per cent, Egypt has seen staples such as cooking oil and cheese transformed into unsustainable luxury goods. The price of some products has doubled or tripled in just a few months. Among the causes, also the fact that Egypt imports a lot of food, rather than relying on its agriculture to feed the more than 100 million people who live in the country. Grain to feed the chickens is also imported.

Egyptian President Adbdel Fattah al-Sisi often speaks of the aftermath of the 2011 revolution against Hosni Mubaral and rapid population growth as the ‘justification’ for the current economic woes. Then there was the Covid-19 pandemic followed by the war in Ukraine. Indeed, Egypt is the world’s second largest importer of wheat and Russia and Ukraine were its main suppliers. The war also dealt a severe blow to Egypt’s tourism sector, as Russians and then Ukrainians visited Egypt en masse.

The risk now is that of a new political and security instability. Past economic hardships led to riots and contributed to the downfall of first Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi.