Egyptian president signals start of wheat harvest season in Toshka

Ahram Online , Thursday 21 Apr 2022

​President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi signalled the beginning of the wheat harvest season in Toshka's agricultural lands in the Upper Egypt governorate of Aswan on Thursday morning, the presidential spokesman said.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Toshka during a ceremony held to open the local wheat harvest season on Thursday (photos courtesy of Egyptian Presidency)


El-Sisi arrived in Aswan's South Valley to inspect lands in Toshka during a ceremony held to open the wheat harvest season.

The visit is part of the state’s efforts to establish integrated agricultural communities with great economic returns, help ensure food security, increase exports, make a breakthrough in agriculture, and generate thousands of job opportunities, read a statement by the presidential spokesman.

During the tour, El-Sisi was apprised of the different types of harvests and visited greenhouses, wheat, sesame, and palm farms.

The president was accompanied by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Agriculture El-Sayed El-Quseir, Supply Minister Ali Moselhi, and Armed Forces commanders.

The wheat harvest season in Egypt starts this year on 1 April, instead of 15 April, and will run through the end of August.

Egypt's Minister of Agriculture stated on Thursday that the country’s cultivated area of wheat in the 2021/2022 season is 3.65 million feddans, and the productivity is expected to hit 10 million tons, of which the country seeks to collect about 5-6 million tons from farmers.

Harvest rates are estimated to reach 17 percent in April and 75 percent in May, while the remaining will be harvested in June, El-Quseir said.

Egyptian officials have repeatedly offered assurances that after receiving local supplies from the current harvest season – which if reached six million tonnes would be up by 2.5 million tons than in 2021 – Egypt’s needs of wheat would be met until almost the end of the year.

The increase, according to previous remarks by the Ministry of Agriculture, is the result of increasing the amount of land devoted to wheat cultivation by more than 400,000 feddans last year.

It also came as a result of El-Sisi’s directives to the government to provide farmers with incentives to sell more of their crop to the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade.

The officials' assurances come despite the disruption of grain supplies from Black Sea ports to the Middle East and North Africa due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

Together, Russia and Ukraine account for nearly 30 percent of global wheat exports.

Egypt is the world’s top wheat importer. It receives around 80 percent of its wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine.

The country is currently in talks with other markets, including non-European countries.

In mid-April, El-Quseir announced that India is the latest in the list of countries that will serve as an alternative source of wheat for Egypt.

During the ceremony on Thursday, El-Sisi inaugurated via video conference a number of new silos in Sharqiya, Giza, Qalioubiya, and Ismailia within the framework of the national silos project, reported the Egyptian State news agency MENA.

The project includes silos with a capacity of 90,000 tons in New Salhiya city in Sharqiya, a silos complex with a capacity of 90,000 tons in Arab El-Ulayqat city in Qalioubiya, a silos complex with a capacity of 60,000 tons in Beni Salama city in Giza, and a silo with a capacity of 30,000 tons in Abu Suwir in Ismailia.

In December 2021, El-Sisi inaugurated a number of land reclamation projects in Toshka, reportedly the largest of their kind in the Middle East. The projects are meant to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat, an Egyptian staple.

The project was originally launched in 1997 during the tenure of late president Hosni Mubarak to reclaim and cultivate 540,000 feddans. It was originally scheduled for completion in 2017.

The project aims to increase habitable land from five to 25 percent, expand agricultural production, and create new job opportunities away from the dense arable lands of the Delta and Nile Valley.

Work at the Toshka project, widely deemed futile by experts who questioned its feasibility, stopped in 2008 before it was revived by El-Sisi in July 2020.

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