Egypt close to achieving self-sufficiency in rice production: Supply minister

Jehad El-Sayed , Wednesday 21 Sep 2022

Egypt will achieve self-sufficiency in rice production soon and has enough wheat reserves to cover 6.3 months of the market’s needs, as well as sugar reserves to cover 5.1 months, Egypt’s Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi stated on Wednesday.

RICE

 

The minister made the remarks in a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly that was held to review the strategic stock of all basic food commodities for the country, according to a ministerial statement.

The Chamber of Grain Production said that 4.5 million tons of rice have been harvested in 2021-22, compared to 6 million tons the year before. The harvest this year should rise to 6 million tons after an expansion of the areas slated for rice cultivation

During the meeting, Moselhi added that the country has a sufficient reserve of all kinds of oil to cover 5.4 months, frozen poultry to cover 6.2 months, meat to cover  13.4 months, and pasta for 5.4 months.

He added that the state is proceeding with steps to encourage farmers to expand wheat cultivation, affirming that the price of local wheat procurement for the new harvest season is EGP 1,000 per ardeb (1 ardeb is equivalent to 150kg).

Last month, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the government would announce a new programme to encourage farmers to cultivate and supply wheat with better mechanisms ahead of the coming wheat cultivation season, which starts in October.

The new system will encourage young farmers to supply wheat to the government, especially as the majority of farmers prefer to keep wheat for personal use or sell it to the private sector, the premier said in a press conference in mid-July.

Egypt has set the new guide price for wheat per ardeb amid a global food crisis caused by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has raised prices of grains and energy and spurred food price inflation.

Egypt, which used to rely on Russia and Ukraine for 80 percent of its imported wheat, has been working on diversifying its wheat import sources and encouraging local farmers to sell their wheat to the state since the Ukraine crisis started in February.

Ahead of the current wheat season, the government raised the price of wheat supplied by citizens to EGP 810 instead of EGP 710 per ardeb and granted farmers an additional incentive of EGP 65 for each ardeb of wheat.

Egypt also brough forward the 2022 wheat harvest season to start on 1 April instead of 15 April

So far, Egypt has purchased 4.2 million tonnes of local wheat from farmers, representing around 70 percent of the targeted 6 million tonnes.

The country consumes around 18 million tonnes of wheat annually, Minister Moselhi said last year.

Earlier this month, Moselhi said Egypt currently has strategic wheat reserves that can cover domestic consumption for 7.2 months.

On rice, Egypt consumes some 10,000 tons of rice per year, said Magdi Al-Walili, head of the Export Committee at the Chamber of Grain Production, explaining that last year’s harvest had not met demand because of a decision to limit the amount of cultivated land to conserve water.

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