Egypt at a Turning Point
This chapter argues that Egypt is at a turning point by highlighting the critique of adjustment. It focuses on what happens in the countryside during economic reform, to listen to farmers and their families, and to try to understand the dynamics of rural livelihoods. The chapter shows that the view of agricultural modernisation promoted in Egypt at the end of the 1990s will too readily promote land consolidation and rural unemployment. It explores the need to formulate policy around the interests of small farmers, an understanding of rural relations of production and reproduction, and the need in so doing to redress the historical imbalance created by uneven development. The threat to tenant farmers has been taken up by a newly established Cairo-based Land Centre. Many farmers reported to the Land Centre that they felt it incongruous that they would be dispossessed yet rehired as farm labourers, some after a generation or more of working the same piece of land.