Ali Moselhi; Egypt's Supply Minister - File photo
CAIRO – 23 October 2017: Egypt's Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi announced the release of Romanian and French wheat cargos from Safaga Port and a potential end to the wheat import crisis on Monday.
Being one of the world's biggest wheat buyers, Egypt caused panic to global suppliers over the last weeks. The two cargos were referred to the public prosecutor for containing drug-producing poppy seeds. The prosecutor had yet to issue a final decision on whether to allow the wheat entry or if the cargo should be re-exported.
Swinging on the verge of a potential wheat crisis, Egypt suggested sieving the two cargos.
Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim Al-Banna told Reuters last September that Egypt’s decision to release the cargos was as a good move that could avert a trade dispute.
Moselhi discussed a number of supply-related issues on the sidelines of a meeting on Monday with head of the Egyptian Cabinet Sherif Ismail. During the meeting, Moselhi assured the Egyptian Prime Minister that the supply of sugar, wheat, and oil is enough to cover public consumption for the next five months.
Last year Egypt faced accusations of having trace amounts of ergot in imported wheat cargos In response Egypt banned any trace of ergot, a common grain fungus in cargos. This move halted the country's billion-dollar grain trade after suppliers said it was impossible to guarantee the zero-tolerance level. According to food inspectors, Egypt launched a more tolerant system last year intended to streamline trade following the ergot dispute.
"We are being exposed to the biggest public campaign to enter the largest quantities possible of poor-quality wheat into Egypt and make it the wastebasket of the world," a quarantine inspector said.