G7 countries' joint statement announce supporting Egypt in grain crisis

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Jun 2022

The Ambassadors of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the EU in Cairo announced on Tuesday that the G7 countries are supporting Egypt in the current grain crisis that hit the world following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

wheat
File Photo: General view of a wheat field in Egypt s Beheira. Reuters

 

A joint statement by G7 countries said that "the G7 is standing by their commitment to support Egypt through this crisis caused by Russia’s war. We are enhancing our cooperation with Egypt to meet this crisis, through increased support for the World Food Program’s activities in Egypt and regional frameworks such as the Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS) or the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) or support to the Government of Egypt through bilateral assistance like the EU food facility and national frameworks. Russia has failed to offer such support".

The statement blamed Russia for the current crisis saying it decided to "weaponise food" and that the only solution for the crisis is the immediate stop to the war against Ukraine and withdrawal of Russian troops.

“President Putin needs to end his war of aggression and the destruction and blocking of essential food supplies for the world to avoid global hunger,” it added.

Egypt's wheat supply was immensely impacted when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

Last year, Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, received 80 percent of its wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine due to its high quality, competitive pricing, and geographical proximity.

Egypt imports 12 to 13 million tonnes of wheat per year, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity in 2020 – an online data visualisation platform that focuses on the geography and dynamics of economic activities across the globe.

“We are closely consulting with Egypt and other regional partners on this crisis, for example in the Mediterranean Dialogue on the Food Security Crisis that took place in Rome last week, the May 18 US Secretary of State’s Global Food Security Call to Action Ministerial at the United Nations, the visit to Cairo of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen or the upcoming Uniting for Global Food Security conference in Berlin,” the statement said.

It added that “as the Egyptian government has been actively engaged in securing shipments of wheat and other foodstuffs, the G7 states are at work to keep global agricultural markets open”.

The Egyptian government has announced earlier the diversification of import sources from different countries including India, which has exempted Egypt from its recent wheat export ban.

During the first week of May, Egypt signed a deal to import 61,500 tonnes of Indian wheat.

Furthermore, Egypt is expected to produce around 6 million tonnes of wheat during the local supply season, which is around 2.5 million more than in 2021.

The country has requested in late May $500 million from the World Bank (WB) to buy wheat through the Emergency Food Security and Resilience Support Project, according to a document released by the WB.

According to the Egyptian Cabinet, Egypt has a strategic wheat reserve for domestic consumption sufficient till the end of 2022.

“We support Ukraine in producing and exporting foodstuffs to help alleviate the crisis.” The G7 countries' ambassadors said.

The statement also stated that neighbouring European countries such as Romania and Poland are aiding through transporting grain by land, “as they did for a tender of Egyptian wheat last week, yet with much lower capacity and at a higher cost."

Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) announced earlier this month that it signed a contract to purchase 4.65 million tonnes of wheat from Russia, Bulgaria, and Romania in what is reportedly the country’s largest wheat purchase since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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