Egypt buys 815,000 tons of wheat in tender from France, Romania, Russia and Bulgaria

Ahram Online , Thursday 30 Jun 2022

Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), the country's grain buyer, announced on Thursday contracting 815,000 tons in tender from four counties – France, Romania, Russia and Bulgaria – part of the country's plan to diversify its sources of wheat on the heels of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

wheat field
wheat field in Donetsk, Ukraine

 

According to the tender, which saw Egypt’s biggest single purchase of wheat in years, the GASC purchased 350,000 tons of wheat from France, 240,000 tons from Romania, 175,000 tons from Russia and 50,000 tons from Bulgaria, Egypt's news agency MENA reported citing GASC.

The contracted wheat will be shipped in August, September and October 2022.

The GASC did not provide further details on the value of the signed contracts.

In a statement on Wednesday, the authority said the move comes as part of the Supply Ministry's strategy to enhance stockpiles of basic commodities.

Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, has in recent years imported much of its grain from Russian and Ukraine – through the Black Sea – due to its high quality, competitive pricing and the two countries’ geographical proximity.

On the heels of supply chain disruption caused by the conflict, Egypt is diversifying its import sources, at the top of which is India, which has exempted Egypt from its recent wheat export ban.

Earlier this month, the GASC signed contracts to purchase 465,000 tons of wheat from Russia, Bulgaria and Romania in what at the time was reported as the country’s largest wheat purchase since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February. These purchases are scheduled to be shipped in July and August.

Wednesday's announcement is nearly double the previously contracted quantities.

As the conflict has raised the cost of importing wheat worldwide, Egypt has sought to increase local production, aiming to collect six million tons of the strategic crop through August, up from the 3.5 million tons collected in 2021.

The Egyptian government allocates a great deal of the imported wheat to make subsidised bread – a key staple of the everyday Egyptian diet for more than 70 million citizens.

The government has already received more than 3.9 million tons of wheat from local farmers during the ongoing wheat supply season, up by 10-12 percent from last year, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi said on Sunday.

In addition, the country also seeks to decrease its wheat consumption by adding sweet potato to subsidised bread, according to Moselhi.

Using sweet potato for making bread could save up to a million tons of wheat, Moselhi explained, noting that Egypt has self-sufficiency in sweet potato and is studying the technology required for the process.

The country has a strategic stock of wheat sufficient for nearly 5.7 months, Moselhi said.

On Wednesday, the World Bank approved a $500 million loan to back Egypt’s social protection net and food security in the face of the impacts of the Russian-Ukrainian War.

In 15 June, the EU allocated €100 million in immediate relief to encourage investments in Egypt's agricultural sector and secure the country's food needs during the global grain crisis.

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