The decline in imported wheat this year came as a result of the abundant supply of wheat by farmers compared to the last year, according to Tarek Hassanein, head of the Grain Industry Chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI).
Hassanein told Daily News Egypt that farmers were keeping a portion of the wheat production for their own use to produce bread. However, as the state has provided bread subsidies, the farmers provided all their production to the government, which amounted to an increase of 1m tonnes this year, compared to the last year.
Hassanein noted that this year the government significantly supported farmers in wheat prices, despite purchasing domestic wheat at a price much higher than imported wheat.
“Supporting domestic production would lead to the stability of the economy by supporting the agriculture system and the stability of the farmers’ production,” added Hassanein. “I predict an increase in production next season, with a big decrease in imported wheat next year, compared to the current year.”
Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafi said in press statements Monday that the ministry has succeeded in reducing the amount of imported wheat from abroad to 4.6m tonnes, compared to 6.4m tonnes last year.
Hanafi added that Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world because domestic production is not sufficient, which reached 3.7m tonnes in 2014. The production increased this year, as the ministry received 5m tonnes of wheat from farmers in various governorates.
The minister attributed the increase to the high prices offered by the government to the farmers, as the government paid farmers EGP 420 ($55) per ardeb (about 150 kg). The government allocated EGP 10bn ($ 1.3bn) to local wheat purchases.