Egypt’s Supply Ministry said on Sunday it had purchased 57,000 tonnes of local wheat from farmers since the start of the season on April 15.
Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, is planning to buy 4 million tonnes of Egyptian wheat in the local season which started on Friday.
Farmers are being paid a fixed price of 420 Egyptian pounds ($47.30) per ardeb (150 kg) of wheat after abandoning plans to pay farmers global rates for their crop.
The higher fixed price, well above global market rates, is meant to encourage farmers to grow wheat but has previously led to smuggling involving the sale of cheaper imported wheat to the government falsely labelled as Egyptian.
Egypt’s wheat harvest begins in April and runs through July. Last year the government said it procured a record 5.3 million tonnes of the grain, up from 3.7 million the year before.
Industry players have said that last year’s record procurement was the result of falsely labelled foreign wheat and that it drained nearly 2 billion Egyptian pounds ($255 million at exchange rates at the time) from the government budget.
The supplies ministry has repeatedly denied this.
The government nonetheless announced a series of new measures this month to tighten control of wheat circulation during the harvest that include prohibiting the internal trade of wheat during the procurement season.
The country has increased its storage capacity for grains since last year with the addition of 17 new silos constructed as part of a United Arab Emirates grant, the ministry said.
Another 105 of the country’s open air storage facilities were recently modernised by Blumberg Grain and linked up to a central logistics command centre.
The company says the project will save Egypt hundreds of millions of dollars on previously squandered grain.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/egypt-buys-57-000-tonnes-of-local-wheat-since-start-of-season)