DUBAI: Egypt plans to cut its state wheat imports this year by around 10 percent, with the world’s largest grain importer relying instead on its domestic crop and building storage, Egypt’s agriculture minister said Tuesday.
Egypt is the world’s biggest wheat importer, buying about 10 million tons a year or around half of its consumption, with purchases shared between state wheat buyer General Authority for Supply Commodities and private importers.
But two years of political turmoil and economic crisis have eroded hard currency reserves at a rate of about $1 billion a month, raising questions about Egypt’s ability to purchase in open tenders.
Supply Minister Bassem Ouda was quoted last week as saying he expected U.S. and European exporters to provide “easy terms” as it seeks to replenish falling stocks.
Egypt needs around 9 million tons of wheat for its subsidized bread program, Agriculture Minister Salah Abdel-Momen said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Dubai.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 03, 2013, on page 5.