Minister: Egypt to secure 75 pct of wheat needs in 10 years

08:01, August 11, 2010      

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Egypt will be able to secure 75 to 80 percent of its wheat needs within 10 years, Egypt's official MENA news agency quoted the Agriculture Minister Amin Abbaza as saying on Tuesday.

Abbaza made the announcement when Egypt signed a deal on the day to offer Afghanistan 150 tons of locally-developed wheat seeds, namely "Egypt 1" and "Egypt 2", which are highly productive and resist drought.

Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer. It now meets only 56 percent of self-sufficiency in wheat production.

Abbaza played down the effect of the Russian ban on grain exports on Egypt, saying his ministry, together with the ministries of trade and social security, has taken measures to import 250,000 tons of wheat from other countries.

On Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that his country would impose a temporary ban on grain exports due to hot weather and drought, driving the benchmark wheat futures to a 23-month high in global markets.

Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) currently purchases an average of eight million tons of wheat annually for the production of subsidized bread. An average of two to three million tons are purchased from domestic market while five to six million are imported from abroad, a statement by the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid said Monday that Russia is studying the Egyptian requests to reschedule delivery of 540,000 tonnes of wheat Egypt purchased before Russia decided to ban grain export.

In the fiscal year 2009-2010, which ended in June, Russia was the biggest wheat exporter to Egypt with a 59 percent share of the latter's imports. France ranked the second with 27 percent and the United States the third with seven percent. The rest are purchased from other trade partners.

Source: Xinhua


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