Sisi directs additional incentives to farmers to deliver largest possible wheat amounts

Amr Kandil , Sunday 13 Mar 2022

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called on the government on Sunday to offer farmers additional incentives to encourage them to deliver the largest possible amount of wheat during this agricultural season.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi meets with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Agriculture El-Sayed El-Qusseir, and Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati, 13 March 2022. Egyptian Presidency

Farmers will be offered additional incentives per ardeb (150 kilograms) of wheat delivered, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement without specifying the value of the new incentives.

The president gave the directives in a meeting with a group of officials, including Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Agriculture El-Sayed El-Quseir, and Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati.

Despite the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, both major exporters of wheat to Egypt, Egyptian officials have affirmed that the country’s current strategic wheat reserves are sufficient to cover needs for the coming four months.

Wheat stocks will also be sufficient for Egypt through the end of the year as farmers are set to begin delivering wheat when the local wheat supply season starts in mid-April.

In November, Egypt raised the procurement price for an ardeb of wheat to EGP 820 in a move meant to encourage farmers to increase the amount of cultivated land of wheat amid a global hike in wheat price before the current crisis in Ukraine.

Egypt seeks to procure up to 5.5 million tonnes of wheat from local farmers during this wheat season – 2 million tonnes more than it procured in 2021 – according to the premier and several officials this month.

Egyptian farmers have cultivated 3.6 million feddans with wheat this year - an increase of 400,000 feddans over the past year, El-Qusseir said in a press conference last week.

In 2021, Egypt imported 5.5 million tonnes of wheat, on top of 3.5 million tonnes that was produced locally, according to data released by the supply ministry in December.

Russia and Ukraine together account for 29 percent of the world’s wheat exports, according to the Wheat Outlook report for 2022 issued by the US Department of Agriculture.

Egypt receives 80 percent of its wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine.

Last week, Ukraine, which accounts for 12 percent of the world's total wheat exports, announced that it would not be exporting commodities including wheat, corn, grains, salt and meat.

Egypt has affirmed it is working on plans to diversify sources of wheat imports, includes buying wheat from countries outside Europe, such as the US, Argentina, Canada and Paraguay.

Egypt’s Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi affirmed late in February that contracts to import wheat from Russia are still valid.

Egypt is set to receive a total amount of 189,000 tonnes of wheat distributed equally from Russia, Ukraine and Romania in the coming days, a statement by the supply ministry said on Sunday.

Egypt has already secured 126,000 tonnes of wheat last week, with 63,000 tonnes each from France and Romania, the ministry said.

Last week, Egypt announced it was banning the export of wheat, fava beans, lentils, pasta and all kinds of flour for the next three months. This comes “as part of the state’s plan to secure the products that the citizens need, particularly the basic commodities,” the supply ministry said in a statement.

This comes especially in light of preparations for the holy month of Ramadan, which will start in April, during which the rate of consumption of food products increases considerably, the ministry added.

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