EGYPT — Egypt, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, has built up enough grain reserves to accommodate consumption needs until February 2020, according to the country’s Supply Ministry.
The news comes just a few days after the General Authority for Supply Commodities purchased 405,000 tonnes of Russian, French and Ukrainian wheat.
In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a Global Agricultural Information Network report indicated that wheat production in Egypt is projected to increase 4% over the previous year to 8.7 million tonnes.
According to World Grain, the growth is attributed to an increase in total harvested area that is estimated at 1.37 million hectares.
USDA forecast wheat consumption in 2019-2020 at 20.4 million tonnes, up from 20.1 million tonnes the previous year.
It attributed the uptick to an increase in food, seed and industrial (FSI) use consumption.
“The rise in FSI wheat consumption is attributable to population growth of about 2.4% per annum,” USDA said.
“Egypt, with a population of 99.4 million, is adding over 2 million people per year. It also is host to an estimated 5 million refugees from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Sudan.” It added.
According to a recent report by the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture, the country is currently cultivating a total of 3.8 million acres of wheat for the season which started from September-October.
This is an increase from a total of 3.2 million acres cultivated in 2018 which yielded 8.8 million tonnes, according to data from United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Wheat imports are forecast to be unchanged at 12.5 million tonnes.
Egypt imports 11-12 million tons of wheat annually via international tenders mainly from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to meet the people’s demands of bread as the most affordable meal in the country’s food basket.
Meanwhile, Corn consumption in 2019-20 is forecast to jump to 16.9 million tonnes from 16.2 million tonnes of the previous year attributed to an expanding feed industry.
USDA notes that the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) recently announced that the issuance of licenses for animal, poultry, and production of feed projects have more than doubled over the past two years.
However, production has been revised downward from 7.2 million tonnes earlier this year to 6.4 million tonnes.
Corn imports are projected at 10 million tonnes, up from 9.7 million tonnes in 2018-19.
The USDA said the decrease in production is due to the reduction in harvested area due to increased plantings of rice.