Rice begins to reappear on shelves after suspension of price cap decision

Ahram Online , Monday 20 Feb 2023

Rice companies began to restock their production from fine-packed Egyptian local rice on major retailers’ shelves in the past two days following the government's decision to suspend its rice price cap weeks before Ramadan.



According to news reports in Egyptian media on Monday, the price of one kilo of packaged Egyptian fine rice returned back on the shelves for EGP 28, while the price of unpacked rice reached EGP 24 after weeks of shortage in retailer suppliers.

Last Wednesday, the Egyptian government decided to suspended the price cap on rice.

In September, the government set a price cap (ranging from EGP 12 to EGP 15 respectively) on rice for three months, extending the cap in mid-December for another three months (raising the price this time to EGP 18) in an attempt to control the price hikes at local retailers during inflation.

Rice producers and farmers welcomed the decision to suspend the price cap.

The head of the rice division in the Grains Chamber at the Egyptian Federation of Industries (EFI) Reda Shehata said in media statements during the weekend that when the government took the decision to cap rice prices, it did not take into consideration that it did not have access to raw materials.

On Sunday, he said that by early March there will be enough rice in the market for its prices to go down because by then the imported rice will be available.

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) at the Ministry of Supply announced earlier a tender to import natural, fully milled, short-grain white rice packed in 50 kg packages to be received by the Holding Company for Food Industries.

The announcement set the delivery period from 20 March to 20 May and the quantity at a minimum of 25,000 tons. Bids should be submitted by 14 February.

According to Ibrahim Ashmawi, first assistant minister of supply for investment and head of the Internal Trade Development Authority, Egypt produces four million tons of rice a year, which yields a surplus, as domestic consumption is around 3.6 million tons.

“But because of poor practices on the part of grain suppliers and dealers, the government has decided to increase the amount of imported rice in order to create a larger supply,” he told Al-Ahram Weekly last week.

Ashmawi had attributed the recent shortage of supply in the markets to rice being used by some farmers as food for livestock as a result of the current fodder crisis faced by Egypt which imports 85 percent of its needs of animal feed.  

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