Egypt wheat reserves enough for 5 months: Minister

Ahram Online, Sunday 12 Oct 2014

Shipments of 175 thousand tonnes of French and Russian wheat expected in November, says official

File Photo: Wheat (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's latest purchases of international wheat will ensure the country's needs are met until the first week of March 2015, Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafi announced on Saturday.

Egypt has signed contracts for 120,000 tonnes of French and 55,000 tonnes Russian wheat, at an average price of $245.25 per tonne, to be delivered next month, after the tenth global tender for wheat in this year's budget, said Hanafi.

The government, which runs a bread subsidy programme for some 69 million Egyptians, is the world's number one importer of wheat.

Egypt imported 5.46 million tonnes of wheat to supplement the 3.7 million tonnes of locally-procured wheat in the last fiscal year which ended on 30 June.

Earlier this year, authorities launched a new subsidised bread programme which aims to reduce smuggling and cut down on wheat spending by selling flour to bakers at a non-subsidised price and encouraging beneficiaries to exchange their bread ration for other subsidised foodstuffs through a smart-card system.

Food subsidies account for four percent of total expenditure in the 2014/2015 budget, compared to 4.2 percent in the previous year's budget. 

The system, which is being introduced gradually throughout the country, currently covers over a dozen of Egypt's 27 governorates, including Cairo, Giza, and Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city.


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