EGYPT – Egypt has received 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, World Grain has reported.
The funding comes after the Egyptian government reported that it has increased its wheat storage capacity to 3.6 million tons (MT) in 2023, compared to 1.2 MT in 2014, a 200% jump.
The funding, envisioned to add 12% of the current 3.6 MT capacity, is part of a previously announced 225-million-euro ($240.71 million) food security support package to Middle Eastern and North African nations impacted by the war in Ukraine, of which Egypt stood to receive 100 million euro ($108 million).
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.
As a result, the government came 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.
In March, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the EU signed an agreement for 40 million euros ($43.16 million) to be spent on projects to produce grains and seeds, set up silos, and control wheat transport within Egypt.
The funding followed the move by the Egyptian Ministry of Finance to allocate 45 billion EGP (US$ 1.5B) to purchase local wheat from farmers this year, a step forward in supporting and encouraging farmers to expand the cultivation of wheat.
In addition, the Cabinet approved new incentives for Egypt’s farmers to increase the available wheat in a bid to support local production and subsequently reduce the import bill of wheat
According to USDA, Egypt has scored a success since the latest forecast noted that the wheat harvest in Egypt is expected to increase by around 9% to close to 10 million tonnes at the end of the 2023/2024 season.
The forecast is bearing fruits as recently, the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE) announced that it has received the first batch of locally produced wheat in 2023, amounting to about 277,000 tonnes.