The Egyptian delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture visits a wheat field in India- Press photo
CAIRO – 15 APRIL 2022: To minimize the effects of the ongoing Russian-Ukraine crisis on Egypt’s grain stockpile, the Egyptian government has announced India as a new wheat supplier.
Egyptian Minister of Agriculture El Sayyed El Qusseir announced in a statement on Thursday that India has been recognized as a new country of origin for importing wheat within the framework of the state’s plan to open new sources of importing wheat as a strategic commodity.
Before the ratification, the Egyptian Ministry has sent a delegation headed by the chairperson of the Pest Risk Analysis Section at the Ministry Islam Farahat to India to study the feasibility of importing the Indian wheat to soften the effects resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, climate change crises and drought that may threaten food security.
Over the past several days, the Egyptian delegation was briefed on the Indian phytosanitary systems, inspection and control of grain exports and methods of pest control and resistance, said Farahat.
The delegation also visited grain stores in different regions like Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Mumbai, and other areas of wheat cultivation to check the export procedures and the government laboratories approved by the Indian Agricultural Quarantine, Farahat continued.
Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Mabdouli announced on April 4 that Egypt’s wheat stock for domestic consumption is sufficient for 2.6 months, adding that the government has allocated EGP 1.1 billion to the Supply Commodities Authority and the Agricultural Bank of Egypt for purchasing the local wheat from the local farmers.
During the meeting, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Meselhi confirmed that the supply of local wheat goes smoothly, noting that there are more than 450 locations to supply wheat nationwide.
Egypt’s wheat imports are projected to go down due to the Ukraine-Russian, said the US Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture on March 28, 2022.
“FAS Cairo forecasts Egypt’s wheat imports in MY 2022/23 (July – June) at 11 MMT, down by 8.3 percent from MY 2021/22 Post’s import estimate figure of 12 MMT. Importing and buying wheat from other markets remains a viable option for government and private purchases,” the FAS said in its report.
Egypt is currently suffering from a crisis of wheat supply from the conflicting Russia and Ukraine, the two biggest wheat importers to Egypt. So, the government is targeting to increase the area of the wheat crops by 1.5 million feddans over the next three years in accordance with a new study conducted by the Egyptian Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC).
Despite the government’s efforts to secure wheat supply that is essential for the subsidized bread, one of the 2011 Revolution’s slogans, the government would not stop importing wheat from other countries like France even with high prices to fill the gap between the local production and the consumption, as it was stated to Egypt Today by the head of the Farmers’ Syndicate Hussein Abdel Rahman Abu Saddam.