By Doaa Farid
Egypt plans to export 100,000 tons of rice between 7 November and 15 January, an official within the Federation of Egyptian Industries has said, commenting on statements made by Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour.
Abdel Nour had announced a new bid to export 100,000 tons of rice on Monday during a meeting with the Egyptian Businessmen Association, according to a statement from the ministry.
Vice Chairman of the Rice Division in the Federation of Egyptian Industries Mostafa Attallah said that this quantity is a surplus amount from the local market, and noted that this will not affect the supply provided to local consumers.
However, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Mohamed Abo Shady announced earlier in October that he had agreed with Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi not to export rice until all ration card related needs for the grain are met, which according to state-owned Al-Ahram amounts to 1.4 million tons per year.
Abo Shady, citing statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, stated that 2.2 million acres of rice were planted in 2013 and that rice production is expected to reach 7.5 million tons.
Last year Egypt exported 650,000 tons of rice “to 58 countries in Europe and the Arab region,” Attllah said, adding that the international markets for Egyptian rice are increasing year on year.
According to Attallah, the government wants to reduce its rice cultivation because of its heavy water consumption. “But the farmers are continuing sowing rice as it is profitable for them,” he said, since the crop’s price per ton can reach EGP 1,250.
Meanwhile, Abo Shady discussed with Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Cairo importing wheat and food oil from Bulgaria with competitive prices during a 23 October meeting, according to a statement published on the ministry’s website.
The Federation of Egyptian Industries is a semi-governmental organisation comprised of members elected by the general assemblies of various industrial companies, and headed by representatives of government ministries.