Egypt set to procure 1,80,000 tonnes of wheat from India
By: Aviral Sharma
Egypt has signed a contract to buy 180,000 tonnes of wheat from India, Supply Minister Aly Moselhy said on Sunday. Egypt is one of the world’s biggest importers of wheat, and this deal is a measure to diversify its origins of wheat supplies.
Egypt’s main wheat supply relied on Russia and Ukraine. However, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the import costs have increased in Egypt, which mainly subsidises bread for its 70 million population. Hence, the country is looking for alternatives to the Black Sea grain exports hindered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Egypt initially agreed to buy 500,000 tonnes of wheat from India, but the contract could not be sealed early on. Pertaining to the low domestic production of wheat, India banned its export in May 2022. However, with an exception to countries with food security needs like Egypt.
“Based on what the supplier said, the condition was that the wheat had to be at the ports, then it would be available. We had agreed on 500,000 tonnes, it turns out (the supplier) has 180,000 tonnes in the port,” Aly Moselhy said in a statement on Sunday.
Egypt plans to save around 5,00,000 tonnes of imported wheat and to import 5 to 5.5 million tonnes of wheat for the 2022/23 fiscal year.
Another idea under trial was supplementing wheat flour with potatoes. “We are looking at the technology now,” Moselhy added further. The country is looking to obtain more flour from grain, raising the extraction percentage for flour used for subsidised bread to 87.5% from 82%.
However, Egypt doesn’t need to worry as they are packed with sufficient wheat reserves for nearly six months following the procurement of 3.9 million tonnes in the local harvest.
Egypt was also in talks with countries like Kazakhstan, France, and Argentina, but the Indian wheat agreement suited them best.
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