Egypt's wheat imports surged 14.5% in 2023: Official

Ahram Online , Sunday 7 Jan 2024

Egypt’s wheat imports increased by over 14.5 percent to 11 million tons in 2023 compared to 9.6 million tons in 2022, Deputy Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ibrahim Ashmawy said on Saturday.

File Photo: General view of a wheat field in Egypt s Beheira. Reuters
File Photo: General view of a wheat field in Egypt s Beheira. Reuters


The government imported five million tons of this total, Ashmawy highlighted in press statements.

Ashmawy further explained that Egypt heavily relied on the Black Sea corridor for more than 80 percent of its wheat imports last year. However, the Russia-Ukraine conflict hampered trade, including agricultural exports, from Black Sea ports.

Following Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grains Initiative in July, which guaranteed the safe passage of ships, concerns arose over a potential decline in essential food supplies and a severe global food crisis.

Moreover, the number of entities importing wheat to Egypt increased to 45 in 2023, including both government and private sectors, compared to only 31 in 2022. Of these, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) was the leading importer.

Addressing the country's strategic reserves, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi recently offered assurances that Egypt possesses sufficient wheat reserves to cover local consumption needs for 4.8 months.

Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer and consumes 18 million tons of the grain per year.

The country makes up the difference between imports and consumption through local production.

In a bid to incentivize farmers to supply wheat to the state, the Cabinet raised the reference local wheat procurement price from EGP 1,500 to EGP 1,600 per ardeb (equivalent to 150 kg) for the new harvest season in November.

During the most recent harvest season, which spanned from 1 April to 31 August, the government purchased 3.8 million tons of wheat from local farmers.

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