Egypt becoming more self-sufficient in wheat production

by Teresa Acklin
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   CAIRO — Egypt's wheat reserves are sufficient for the next six months and its wheat output is expected to exceed 6 million tonnes in 1999, according to recent reports in several Egyptian newspapers.

   The country's supply and trade minister, Ahmed Gueily, also was quoted as saying that Egypt had achieved a high degree of self-sufficiency in wheat and grains in general. At the end of 1998, Egypt was 50% self-sufficient in wheat production, Mr. Gueily said, adding that the country should be 75% self-sufficient by 2000.

   Mr. Gueily said that Egypt hoped to cut down on wheat consumption by mixing local corn flour with wheat flour for bread production to replace wholewheat loaves.

   Expanding production of mixed loaves and increasing the mixing percentage of corn and wheat flours will result in cutting wheat imports by 1 million to 1.5 million tonnes a year, he said. Egypt is one of the world's largest wheat importers and imports about 6 million tonnes a year.