CAIRO, EGYPT — Consumption of wheat and corn in Egypt is forecast to increase in 2019-20 due to population growth and increased feed demand from the domestic dairy, poultry and aquaculture sectors, according to a Sept. 18 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Wheat production is projected to increase 4% over the previous year to 8.7 million tonnes, the USDA said, noting that the growth is attributed to an increase in total harvested area that is estimated at 1.37 million hectares. Wheat imports are forecast to be unchanged at 12.5 million tonnes.

The USDA forecasts wheat consumption in 2019-20 at 20.4 million tonnes, up from 20.1 million tonnes the previous year. It attributes 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,” the 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.”

Meanwhile, corn consumption in 2019-20 is forecast to jump to 16.9 million tonnes from 16.2 million tonnes the previous year, the USDA said.

An expanding feed industry is the reason for the uptick, as the USDA noted 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.

Corn imports are projected at 10 million tonnes, up from 9.7 million tonnes in 2018-19. However, production has been revised downward from 7.2 million tonnes earlier this year to 6.4 million tonnes, the USDA said.

The USDA said the decrease in production is due to the reduction in harvested area due to increased plantings of rice.