EGYPT – The European Union (EU) has signed a grant agreement of €40 million (US$43.5M) in partnership with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) to support the production of wheat in Egypt.
According to Ecofin Agency, citing the Ministry of International Cooperation, IADC will work with the Ministry of Agriculture to support wheat and grain production by increasing access to certified seeds and agricultural mechanization, valued at 25 million euros (US$27.2M).
Further, the IADC will also build field silos and complete an information control system for the movement of wheat, with the remaining package valued at 15 million euros (US$16.3M).
The grant comes at a time when Egypt is planning to raise local production in line with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s interest in expanding the cultivation of strategic crops, particularly wheat.
Recently, Reda Mohamed, the Director of the Field Crops Research Institute and Head of the National Campaign to Preserve Wheat revealed that the country is strategizing to raise production to meet 65-70% of local needs from the current 55% by 2030
In addition, he unveiled that Egypt has already scored success in increasing the land cultivated with wheat to 3,650,000 feddans in 2023, with an annual increase of 250,000 feddans
According to the statement, the grant is part of the “European Union’s support for food security in Egypt” program grant of 100 million euros (US$109M) intended to bridge consumption needs which have escalated to 20 million tonnes per year.
Egypt has one of the highest per capita consumption of wheat in the world. At 180kg, the country’s per capita is almost thrice the global average.
With such a huge appetite, Egypt is forced to rely on imports as local wheat production, despite being the highest in Africa, is unable to meet the local demand.
In addition, The Russo-Ukrain war has however impacted imports as Egypt relied on both Ukraine and Russia for over 80% of its total import needs.
Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation said that the grant comes in light of efforts made by Egypt through development cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners to face food security challenges as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The agreement also includes support for breeding programs and the production of high-yielding varieties of strategic crops, as well as support for agricultural mechanization and enhancing the flexibility of food security.