Egypt’s agriculture minister resigns

Egypt's agriculture minister resigned on Monday on the instruction of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the prime minister's office said.

The statement did not mention any reasons for Salah El Din Mahmoud Helal's departure.

Egypt is the world's largest importer of wheat.

In July, the agriculture ministry banned cotton imports in order, it said, to boost local production. Egypt grows a high-quality and extra long staple cotton, once known as "white gold", but output has been shrinking for years.

"The ministry is keen on Egyptian cotton regaining its glory on all levels," it said in announcing the ban.

Eight days later, the cabinet reversed the decision, giving no reason beyond saying that this was in the context of "developing cotton farming and supporting its farmers".

Alarmed textile manufacturers had campaigned against the ban, which would have deprived them of cheap imported cotton. (Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Andrew Heavens and William Hardy)

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