EGYPT – Egypt has kicked off the procurement of local wheat, aiming to collect 3.5 million tons of this staple crop during the 2024 wheat supply season.

Speaking on the procurement, Ali Al Moselhy, the country’s Minister for Supply and Internal Trade, said that the state has set purchasing prices ranging from EGP 1,900 (US$39.09) to EGP 2,000 (US$41.32)  based on the purity level, paid within 48 hours.

He noted that Silos and warehouses in different governorates have been open to accommodate the large quantities of wheat supplied by farmers.

Egypt has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of wheat in the world. With such high demand, Egypt is forced to rely on imports as local wheat production, despite being the highest in Africa, is unable to meet the local demand.

The country imports 12 million of the 18 million tons the country consumes annually, according to 2022 Food and Agriculture Organization figures. Half of wheat consumption goes into producing subsidised bread for around 70 million beneficiaries

Although wheat procurement is not mandatory this year, the ministry has continued enforcing strict measures on wheat usage and transportation.

The ministry extended the ban on transporting wheat between locations without a permit from supply directorates in the respective governorates.

Additionally, it prohibited using wheat in manufacturing fodder or fish farms.

The state also prohibits the private sector from using local wheat during the supply season without a permit. This means that private bakeries will continue relying on imported wheat for production.

Recently, the Egyptian cabinet announced that the country needs 7.7 million tons of wheat to produce 93.5 billion bread loaves.

This prompted the government to come up with measures to raise local production in line with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s interest in expanding the cultivation of strategic crops, particularly wheat.

According to the government, the goal is to increase wheat production by 53% by the 2025/2026 period, aiming to substantially reduce dependency on foreign markets.

Since November 2023, Egypt has dedicated three million feddans (acres) to wheat cultivation, marking a substantial year-on-year increase of nearly half a million acres, according to a cabinet announcement made in January 2024.

In addition, in March 2024, the state raised the procurement price of local wheat to EGP 2000 (US$41.32) per ardeb (150 kilograms) for the 2024/25 season in a bid to incentivize farmers to sell their produce to the state as well as curb rising inflation.

The revised incentive is a 25% jump from EGP 1600 (US$33.16) previously announced in November for the 2024 season.

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