Egypt has imported 240,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia and France at an average price of $193 per tonne through an international bid held by the state’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), the supply ministry said in an e-mailed statement on Saturday.
The world’s largest wheat importer currently has reserves sufficient until 1 June, with the new shipments to be supplied to the local market by mid-March with inventory, the ministry added.
Earlier this month, GASC cancelled an international wheat tender after being offered unsatisfactory prices by only four traders.
Confusion among international suppliers of wheat was ignited over Egypt’s policy on the presence of ergot fungus in its imported wheat after it rejected a 63,000-tonne French shipment that arrived in December.
Last week, Egypt said it would revive the old subsidy system for local wheat farmers by paying them a fixed price of EGP 420 ($53.64) per ardeb (150 kg) in the new local procurement season starting in April.
Accordingly, the government reversed its decision to buy the harvest from its peasants at the average global price and granted a direct cash subsidy of EGP 1,300 per feddan (roughly one acre) of wheat grown.
Egypt's wheat imports for the 2015/16 marketing year are estimated at 11 million tonnes, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) wrote in October 2015, "about the same as the previous year and the average for the last five years."