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Local wheat harvest ends with sharply lower figure

Thursday 28 June 2018 02:02 PM


Egypt announced the end of its wheat harvest on Wednesday with a total of 3.15 million tonnes of the grain procured from local farmers, Supply Minister Ali Moselhy said in a statement, one of the lowest tallies in years for the world's largest importer.

Egypt had said previously it was looking to purchase 3.5 to 4 million tonnes of local wheat, a critical staple it uses to supply a sprawling bread subsidy program relied on by tens of millions of Egyptians.

Egypt last year procured about 3.6 million tonnes of wheat from farmers, the first year it scrapped a subsidy and began tying its local purchase price to the global spot price for grains.

Moselhy said the ministry had purchased 3.03 million tonnes of the grain for state-buyer GASC, which feeds its supplies into the subsidy program, as well as another 120,000 tonnes of durum wheat, a harder variety it said would be sold on to macaroni producers.

The government has tried to promote its local crop as a way to reduce its world-topping level of imports, and GASC is expected to buy about 7 million tonnes of wheat from abroad in the fiscal year that ends this month.

Egypt is expected to import about 12.5 million tonnes of wheat in total in the coming 2018-19 fiscal year that begins in July, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, a figure that includes both GASC and private sector purchases.