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Egypt halts rice exports once again to meet domestic demands

Ban on rice exports lifted in October 2012 to be reinstated as government aims to meet local market demands

Ahram Online, Friday 11 Oct 2013
Rice cultivation
Egypt halts rice exports to meet local demand.(photo: Reuters)

Egypt will begin halting rice exports in order to pre-empt a domestic supply shortage, as the government needs around 1.4 million tonnes of rice to distribute through its subsidy cards.

According to Al-Ahram's Arabic website, Egyptian Minister of Supply and Interior Trade Mohamed Abu Shady has agreed with Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi to stop exports on rice in order to meet all market demands, which currently stands at four million tonnes.

Rationed food reaches around 69 million people out of a total population of 90 million. 

"Egypt's rice production in 2013 is estimated at 7.5 million tonnes; the result of cultivating 2.2 million feddans," supply ministry spokesman Mahmoud Diab told Ahram Online.

In October 2012, the Egyptian government announced that it would resume exporting rice following a four-year ban.

In March 2008, then-trade minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid imposed a blanket ban on Egyptian rice exports in hopes of shoring up waning rice supplies in the domestic market.

According to Egypt's General Organisation for Export & Import Control, Egyptian rice exports have generated a total of $186 million so far in 2013.

Despite the export ban, this figure rose in 2009 and 2010 to $409 million and $334 million, respectively.

Rice exporters have urged Abu Shady to reopen the door for exporting, especially since average exports have declined from 1.2 million to 400,000 tonnes per annum. 

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