EGYPT – Egyptian Minister of Internal Trade and Supply Ali El Moselhy has laid the foundation stone for a national project to establish a US$49 million food warehouse in the governorate of Suez.
According to Ecofin Agency, El Moselhy stated that the warehouse will be built on an area of 4-hectare adding that the facility will be constructed in a span of 18 to 24 months.
Once operational, El Moselhy revealed that the warehouse will help in the storage and preservation in appropriate conditions of more than 25 food products, primarily basic cereal foodstuffs to serve the governorates of the Suez Canal region.
The move comes at a time when the country is grappling with a shortage of foreign currency leading to deferred payments for its large wheat purchases- the country’s staple.
However, El Moselhy pointed out that strategic warehouses are one of the pillars of the internal trade and food security system and secure citizens’ needs for ready-to-use goods for long periods.
In addition, the initiative also provides for the installation of 3 additional warehouses in the governorates of Sharquia, Fayoum, and Luxor for a total investment of more than 4 billion pounds (US$129 million).
According to Mr. Moselhy, the said program aims mainly to double the food reserves at the level of the governorates targeted in the long term and to further reduce food losses.
Egypt, perennially the world’s largest wheat importer, has been working to increase its wheat reserves after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine adversely affected Egypt since 80% of the country’s imports came from the two nations.
To achieve its objective in local production, the Egyptian government recently increased its wheat storage capacity to 3.6 million tons in 2023, compared to 1.2 million tons in 2014, an increase of 200 percent.
The country also secured 60 million euros ($66 million) from the European Union and French Development Agency to help in expanding its silo grain storage capacity by 420,000 tonnes.
Deputy Minister of Supply and Internal Trade and Chairperson of Internal Trade Development Authority, Ibrahim Ashmawy elaborated that these warehouses will contribute to controlling the storage system and preventing any kind of manipulation, in addition to facilitating inventory of available commodities in all governorates.