EGYPT – Egypt is intensifying efforts to ramp up domestic wheat and corn production by the year 2025/2026 to enhance food security and reduce dependence on foreign imports.

According to the government, the goal is to increase wheat production by 53% and corn production by 56% by the 2025/2026 period, aiming to substantially reduce dependency on foreign markets.

This initiative, revealed by Ali Al-Moselhy, the Minister for Supply and Internal Trade, underscores Egypt’s commitment to bolstering its agricultural self-sufficiency.

The minister highlighted that the government has an ambitious plan to procure 3.5 million tons of local wheat during the upcoming 2024 season, scheduled to commence in April.

According to him, the upcoming wheat harvest season is anticipated to span several months. The Egyptian government aims to achieve significant gains in wheat production during this period.

Since November 2023, Egypt has dedicated three million feddans (acres) to wheat cultivation, marking a substantial year-on-year increase of nearly half a million acres, according to a cabinet announcement made in January 2024.

This ambitious expansion in cultivation reflects Egypt’s determination to enhance local agricultural output.

Egypt’s recent efforts are motivated by a surge in wheat imports, which rose by 14.5 percent to 11 million tons in 2023 compared to the previous year, as reported by Assistant Supply Minister Ibrahim Ashmawy to Bloomberg.

As the third-largest economy in the Arab world, Egypt is often the world’s leading wheat importer, relying on foreign sources for over 50 percent of its wheat requirements.

Its annual wheat consumption stands at 18 million tons, with the shortfall between imports and consumption is met through local production.

To encourage local farmers to sell their produce to the state, the Egyptian Cabinet raised the local wheat procurement price to EGP 1,600 (approximately US$ 33.7)  per ardeb (150kg) for the upcoming harvest season, up from EGP 1,500 previously.

The decision to boost domestic wheat production comes amid global challenges, notably the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, key wheat suppliers to Egypt, which has triggered a surge in wheat prices worldwide.

This has added pressure to Egypt’s substantial import bill for wheat, which plays a critical role in providing state-subsidized bread to approximately 70 million Egyptians.

However, despite economic challenges, including rising inflation and foreign exchange shortages, Egypt has demonstrated resilience in its agricultural sector.

Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Al-Sayed Al-Kosayer, reported that agricultural exports surged to US$ 1.5 billion (EGP 71 billion) in the first quarter of 2024, showcasing a substantial increase compared to the same period last year.

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