EGYPT – The Egyptian cabinet has announced that the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade purchased 3.8 million tons of wheat from local farmers during this year’s harvest season which started in April and ended in September.
According to the statement, the volume aligns with the initial plan by governments to procure four million tons of local wheat supplies from farmers during this harvest season.
This year, the Egyptian Ministry of Finance allocated 45 billion EGP (US$ 1.5B) to purchase local wheat from farmers, a step forward in supporting and encouraging farmers to expand the cultivation of strategic crops as the country makes strides towards self-sufficiency.
Mohamed Maait, the Finance Minister revealed the grant allocation surpassed last year’s bill by more than 19 billion EGP.
In addition, the cabinet approved new incentives to increase local wheat prices as a measure to support local production and subsequently reduce the import bill of wheat.
The incentives would bring the price of wheat to EGP 1,500 per ardeb (US$ 48.54) (1 ardeb = 150kg), up from EGP 1,000 per ardeb last season to encourage more farming.
Egypt has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of wheat in the world. At 180kg, the country’s per capita is almost three times the global average.
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 figures.
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.
However, the country’s imports have been affected by the Russo-Ukrainian war especially after the Black Sea Grain Initiative came to an end.
The country seeks to reduce the impact of the disruptions in global food supply chains and the rise in commodity prices by encouraging farmers to increase wheat supply to the government.
According to the recent report by USDA, Egypt’s wheat production for MY 2023/2024 is expected at 9.8 million metric tons (MMT) owing to the development of breeding and cultivation practices in the country.