Egypt must consider alternatives to French wheat

Doaa Farid
2 Min Read
Russian wheat export restrictions will not be applied to Egypt (AFP photo)

Recent rejections of French wheat imports due to the presence of a high level of ergot fungus have prompted some experts to suggest that Egypt looks to other suppliers.

The rejection of wheat import shipments has raised concerns over whether EU countries would halt their grain exports to Egypt completely.

In response to that concern, a former advisor to the minister of supply and professor of agriculture at Cairo University, Nader Noureldin, suggested that Egypt should increase wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine to supplant French imports.

According to Noureldin, more than 50% of Egypt’s wheat imports come Russian and Ukrainian suppliers.

Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat with domestic consumption of approximately 11m tonnes of wheat per year, 4m of which are obtained from local farmers. The remainder is imported from Russia, Ukraine, Romania, the United States, France, and other countries.

Noureldin claimed that French suppliers have often requested to be made exempt from Egyptian regulations governing the quality of wheat. France increased the humidity levels in wheat silos by more than the 14% limit after Egypt approved the decision, compromising on its regulatory standard.

“Europe allows these exceptions as they do not heavily rely on wheat as Egypt does,” Noureldin said.

Noureldin claimed Russian suppliers better adhere to the quality standards that Egypt has decided to impose.

Russia is the fourth largest global exporter of wheat.

France is the largest wheat exporter in the European Union, exporting 19.1m tonnes of soft wheat annually, an estimated 52% of its harvest.

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