File Photo: An Egyptian farmer harvests wheat in a field. Reuters
Egypt bought 4.2 million tons of local wheat from farmers during the last season. The last season, which normally begins in mid-April, began two weeks prior to its regular time. The government fell short of attaining the targeted amount – announced previously by officials – of 6 million tons of local wheat.
The Egyptian Cabinet will declare extra incentives to wheat farmers in their next meeting, Moselhi said.
In August 2022, the Egyptian Cabinet approved raising the guide price of local wheat procurement for the 2023 harvest season by 13.6 percent to EGP 1,000 per ardeb (1 ardeb is equivalent to 150kg) in a step that “reflects the state's keenness to support farmers and encourage them to cultivate and supply wheat to the state”.
In the 2022 local supply season, the local wheat procurement price had amounted to EGP 880 per ardeb on average. This price included additional incentives.
The supply minister also indicated that up until Saturday the Ministry of Supply had managed to purchase 320,000 tons of imported wheat. He added that a bid for wheat purchases will be announced every week.
Egypt relies heavily on wheat for making bread, a main staple of the Egyptian diet, with citizens consuming almost 100 billion loaves of bread annually, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly had said in August.
The 104-million country has been suffering from a wheat shortage since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Eighty percent of Egypt's imported wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine.
The government has since been looking to buy wheat from other countries in order to diversify Egypt’s wheat import sources.
Egypt also relies on Russian and Ukrainian imported corn. To bridge the gap in corn supplies and in order to support small poultry farmers – corn being largely used as fodder for poultry – Moselhi announced that the ministry intends to purchase corn by inviting private sector companies to submit their bids. This process will also ensure providing both corn and wheat bran at equitable prices, he said.
The supply minister added that in light of the increasing prices of fodder the government is working on extracting bran from corn milling to be used as fodder.