Govt plans to offset rising wheat prices by increasing reserves

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rachid Mohamed Rachid, revealed several state-administered plans to increase both local production and strategic reserves of wheat in an effort to offset surging commodity prices.

Before leaving for Ankara yesterday, Rachid told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the state will provide adequate wheat import subsidies, stressing that bread is among the basic commodities the state is seeking to provide at the standard quantity and price.

Rachid pointed to two scenarios for handling the soaring prices. During particularly sharp hikes, wheat subsidy allocations will be raised by LE4 billion. During usual price surges, the increase will be LE2 billion. The minister said he believes the strategies will avert a crisis similar to 2008, where grain prices skyrocketed. The 2008 crisis fueled popular protests in Egypt and Haiti, after each country was left suffering from bread shortages.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Social Solidarity announced that 760,000 tons of wheat have been imported from the US, France and Canada since Russia declared the suspension of wheat exports in mid-August after a severe drought caused wildfires to ravage the country's highest wheat-producing areas. Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer and one of Russia's biggest purchasers.

Hamdan Taha, the ministry’s undersecretary, added that American wheat is known for its internationally reputed quality due to greater scrutiny and regulations.
The undersecretary also said 230 million loaves are produced on a daily basis in Egypt, distributed with an average of three per individual. He described the ratio as adequate for Egyptian consumers. Taha said he believed there was no need to hasten an increase in bread production since local produce is sufficient.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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