Egypt to disburse EGP 65 incentive per ardeb of wheat, set pricing mechanism for unsubsidised bread

Mai Ghandour, Wednesday 16 Mar 2022

Egypt’s cabinet decided on Wednesday to grant wheat farmers an incentive of EGP 65 for each ardeb (1 ardeb is equivalent to 150kg) to encourage them to increase the quantities they sell to the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade.

Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of the Cabinet Facebook page)

The cabinet also authorised the supply ministry to take the necessary measures to establish a pricing mechanism for unsubsidised bread to curb price hikes.

The wheat incentives will be added to the pre-determined wheat prices, bringing the total price of wheat to EGP 865 for an ardeb of 22.5 carats; EGP 875 for an ardeb of 23 carats; and EGP 885 for an ardeb of 23.5 carats.

The disbursement of the incentive comes in implementation of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s directives to support farmers and encourage them to increase the quantities of wheat they sell to the supply ministry, a statement by the cabinet read.

The Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade expects to receive nearly six million tonnes of homegrown wheat this year, up from nearly four million tonnes in 2021. The wheat season will start early April to shore up the country's strategic reserves to cover nearly eight months – up from the current four months – with local wheat supplies.

Egypt, which imports 80 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, is attempting to diversify its wheat imports due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The country has been recently seeking 14 alternative markets, including non-European countries, such as the US, Argentina, Canada, and Paraguay to meet its wheat needs.

The fixed pricing mechanism for unsubsidised bread is set to curb the unjustified price hikes, the cabinet said, adding that the move is in line with El-Sisi’s directives to assess the cost of producing the unsubsidised bread as well as its pricing.

The pricing mechanism, the cabinet said, will be implemented for a period of three months.

The price of unsubsidised bread in Egypt, which is highly dependent on imported wheat, has soared by nearly 50 percent over the past week against the background of an increase in prices of wheat globally due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

In preparation for the holy month of Ramadan, which will start on 2 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 types of cracked green wheat (fereek) for three months.

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