Egypt procures 1.75 mln tons of local wheat so far this season

Egypt has procured 1.75 million tons of local wheat since the start of its harvesting season, a senior Ministry of Agriculture official said on Sunday.

Abbas al-Shennawi, head of the ministry’s services sector, also told Reuters that Egypt had harvested 1.5 million feddans (630,000 hectares) of local wheat so far.

Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said last month that the country had made 1.1 billion Egyptian pounds ($60 million) available for a down-payment to state grains buyer GASC and the Agricultural Bank of Egypt to purchase wheat from local farmers.

Egypt, among the world’s biggest wheat importers, is heavily reliant on shipments from Ukraine and Russia and its government has been seeking alternative supplies from other countries, including India.

But India banned wheat exports on Saturday, days after saying it was targeting record shipments this year, as a scorching heat wave curtailed output and domestic prices hit a record high.

After India announced the ban, Egypt’s plant quarantine head Ahmed el-Attar told Reuters that the country was in talks with Indian officials about getting an exemption.

India said it would still allow exports backed by already issued letters of credit and to countries that request supplies “to meet their food security needs.”

In April, Egypt’s agriculture ministry announced it had approved India as a source of wheat supplies as the North African country seeks to supplant purchases disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Egypt has been working to diversify its purchases, holding talks with France, Argentina, and the US. El-Attar said on Saturday Egypt was also considering importing wheat from Pakistan and Mexico.

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