Egypt increases price for procurement of local wheat and reports a surge in 2022 exports

Wheat is a key commodity in Egypt, where about 70 million of its 104 million people depend on state-subsidised bread for their survival

A worker at a wheat silo north of Cairo, Egypt. Reuters
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Egypt's government plans to offer wheat growers a procurement price of 1,250 Egyptian pounds ($42.23) per ardeb this season, up from 1,000 pounds last year.

The wheat harvest in Egypt begins in April and continues for several months.

Egypt is often the world’s largest wheat importer, depending on foreign supplies for more than 50 per cent of its needs. The war between Russia and Ukraine — Egypt’s main wheat suppliers — has led to a surge in prices globally, increasing the Arab nation’s already heavy import bill.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, who announced the new wheat procurement price in a televised news conference on Wednesday, said earlier this week that his government planned to buy about four million tonnes of the cereal from local growers this year.

Wheat is a key commodity in Egypt, where about 70 million of its 104 million people depend on state-subsidised bread for their survival.

Mr Madbouly said Egypt was currently producing one billion loaves of the local balady variety for those entitled to subsidised bread.

Those not covered by the food cards that allow holders to buy basic commodities at subsidised prices buy better quality, larger balady loaves at up to one pound a piece.

The subsidised loaf currently costs 0.90 pounds apiece — up from 0.60 pounds two years ago — and is sold for just 0.05 piasters.

Egypt spends two thirds of its total subsidy bill of 150 billion Egyptian pounds on fuel. Reuters

Mr Madbouly also said that initial government data showed that Egypt’s exports totalled about $53.8 billion in 2022, up from about $45 billion the previous year.

Of the $53.8 billion, Egypt’s oil and gas exports accounted for $18.2 billion, while non-oil exports came in at $35.61 billion in 2022.

The increase in the volume of exports should be welcome news to the government of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, which has had to devalue its currency three times since March last year and continues to suffer a foreign currency crunch.

Updated: January 18, 2023, 4:36 PM
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