Small farmer Abdelrazek Basiony, 43, was hoping to use a bountiful tomato harvest to pay off his debts, but his crop was decimated by exceptionally hot summer weather: he got only three tons, compared to 20 tons in a good year.
"This year, Egypt had its hottest summer in years," said Mohamed Eissa, chairman of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, adding the trend was set to continue.
Rising temperatures and poor harvests are driving up prices. According to the government’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), vegetable prices soared 51 percent and meat and poultry by 28.6 percent in September.
A recent report by the Agricultural Research Centre (ARC) cited in the local media said crop productivity had dropped by almost 70 percent this year due to rising temperatures. The report - sent to the Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza - said most crops could not tolerate such a sharp increase.