CAIRO - 17 April 2018: Egypt, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, is planning to import 7 million tons of the grain in the 2018-2019 financial year, according to a budget proposal document seen by Reuters.
Egypt hopes to pay an average price of $220 a ton cost and freight for the wheat during the same year, the proposal said.
The figure cited in the document is one million tons more than a previous one mentioned by Supply Minister Ali Meselhy last week at a press conference, when he said the country targeted 6 million tons of state purchases for the coming financial year starting in July.
A policy of tying local wheat purchase prices to global ones is also set to continue, according to the document.
“The purchase price of local wheat equals the price of imported wheat to ensure that there isn’t a parallel market and to shutdown any manipulations that could lead to a cost increase on the state,” the proposal said.
Egypt set its local wheat buying price at 570-600 Egyptian pounds ($32-$34) per ardeb last week (150 kg) for the current financial year, angering farmers who warned it could push them to grow other more profitable crops next season.
Egypt harvests its own crop from April through July and has said it is looking to buy over 4 million tons from its farmers.