Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer, is banning the trading of imported wheat in the domestic market without permission from the supply ministry during the three-month period when the government is procuring grain from local farmers, according to a ministry statement on Wednesday.
Egypt's wheat harvest season begins by mid-April and lasts until July.
The government said it would procure local supplies this year at the subsidised price of EGP 420 per ardeb (150 kg), reversing its decision to replace the crop subsidy by a land subsidy of EGP 1,300 per feddan (roughly one acre) of wheat grown.
The ministry said those who violate the decision or fail to notify it of the amounts of imported wheat could face six months in prison and an EGP 1,000 fine.
Egypt's state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), aims to purchase 4 to 4.5 million tonnes of domestic wheat this year, Reuters reported in March.