EGYPT – The Egyptian General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) on December 7 said that it has made a contract to buy 420,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat from Russia via tender

The deal is part of GASC’s strategy to enhance its stock of basic commodities.

The first wheat shipment, 210,000 metric tons is set to arrive during the period from January 10 to 20, while the second batch of 210,000 metric tons is due during the period from January 21 to 31, GASC said in a statement.

Egypt stands as one of the leading global wheat importers, while Russia holds the top position as the world’s wheat exporter.

A recent report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicated that Egypt’s wheat ending stocks in marketing year 2023-24 are forecast to drop to their lowest level in 20 years as the country grapples with a smaller crop.

The USDA attributes the dip to increased demand and a shift in trade flows due to Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

In addition, the year-on-year decline in wheat production is due to the area harvested decreasing to 1.35 million hectares compared to 1.45 million in 2022-23, the FAS said.

The announcement comes at a time when Egypt is considering providing subsidized bread to individuals without ration cards

This is following the recent announcement by Ali Al-Moselhi, Egypt’s Minister of Supply during a telephonic discussion with Lamees Al-Hadidi on the Last Word program aired on an ONTV channel.  

According to him, the state will allow the selling of discounted bread to citizens not enrolled in its ration card program through designated prepaid cards, effective January 2024.

The government provides the 90-gram loaf of subsidized bread – locally known as baldy bread – to citizens enrolled in the ration card system for five piasters instead of its actual cost of 90 piasters.

This move seeks to extend the benefits of subsidized bread beyond the 72 million citizens registered on 21 million ration cards. Notably, Egypt produces a staggering 250 to 275 million loaves of bread daily through the existing subsidized bread system.

Abdullah Ghorab, head of the bakeries division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (Fedcoc) while referring to the government’s approval stated that citizens will be able to buy bread loaves for 1 Egyptian pound each from government-run bakeries nationwide.

This cost translates to the actual cost of production according to experts.

According to Ghorab, all 30,000 government-run bakeries countrywide will participate in this initiative.

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