Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi (Photo courtesy of the ministry s Facebook page).
The decision, which was taken following coordination by the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture, aims to shore up the country's strategic reserves of wheat, Ahmed Kamal, the assistant minister of supply and internal trade, said in a statement.
The ministry has prepared for this supply season by increasing the storage capacity of wheat to 3.6 million tonnes through the construction of a large number of field silos, said Kamal who is also the ministry’s spokesperson.
Last week, the government announced incentives to farmers to increase the amount of wheat deliveries by more than two million tonnes this year.
Kamal added that the ministry expects to receive nearly six million tonnes of wheat this year, stressing that the strategic stockpile of the grain is safe and will cover nearly eight months – up from the current four months – after receiving local wheat supplies.
However, Mohamed Reda, the head of the National Wheat Campaign, said in phone-in on DMC channel on Monday that the expected local production will nearly reach 9-10 million tonnes.
Egypt, which imports 80 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, is attempting to diversify its wheat imports thanks to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
The country has been recently seeking 14 alternative markets, including non-European countries like the US, Argentina, Canada and Paraguay to meet its wheat needs.
Egypt will receive over the coming days a total of 189,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia, Ukraine and Romania, all of which had been contracted earlier.
Moreover, it has already secured an additional 126,000 tonnes of wheat last week, distributed equally from France and Romania, according to the supply ministry.
In order to deal with expected shortages in wheat, Egypt has recently banned the export of wheat, fava beans, lentils, pasta, and all kinds of flour for the next three months.
Moreover, in light of the advent of the month of Ramadan – which will start in early April and typically witnesses an increase in the rate of consumption of food products – the Ministry of Trade and Industry imposed on Saturday an export ban on cooking oil, corn and all kinds of cracked green wheat (fereek) for three months.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly offered assurances to the public last week that Egypt has enough wheat reserves to last until the end of 2022.