CAIRO, EGYPT — Egypt, one of the world’s largest wheat importers, has banned trading of wheat by third parties until the end of August, preventing any sales other than to the government, Reuters reported, as it continues to grapple with a global wheat shortage and rising prices.
The government aims to buy the whole harvest from local farmers, as it targets 6 million tonnes of domestic wheat this year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war cut it off from much of the Black Sea wheat on which it relied.
The North African country of 103 million people received 82% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia in 2020, and a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report estimated Egypt would import a total of 12 million tonnes of the staple food crop in 2021-22.
In April, Egypt approved India as a wheat supplier as it attempted to diversify its wheat sources, but in mid-May, India, whose own wheat production is suffering amid terrible heat and drought, banned most exports.
At the end of May, Egypt’s government approved raising the acceptable moisture content in wheat imports from 13.5% to 14% to encourage more offers from other wheat-producing regions such as Poland and the Baltics for its state grains buyers’ tenders.
Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), typically purchases wheat through international tenders, but the government also has approved direct purchases from countries or companies as it grapples to meet its wheat stocks requirements. Egypt was in talks with Australia, Kazakhstan and France for such deals.