CAIRO, EGYPT — A financial assistance package of 60 million euros ($66 million) from the European Union and French Development Agency will help Egypt expand its silo grain storage capacity by 420,000 tonnes, Reuters reported, citing the European Commission delegation in Cairo.

Egypt, perennially the world’s largest wheat importer, has been working to increase its wheat reserves after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine initially disrupted purchases. The additional storage would add 12% to Egypt’s current capacity of 3.5 million tonnes. 

The funding is part of a previously announced 225 million euro ($240.71 million) food security support package to Middle Eastern and North African nations impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine, of which Egypt stood to receive 100 million euro ($108 million).

The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the EU signed an agreement in March for 40 million euros ($43.16 million) to be spent on projects to produce grains and seeds, set up silos and control wheat transport within Egypt.

The Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects Egypt’s wheat production to remain unchanged at 9.8 million tonnes in 2023-24. This presents a challenge for Egypt, as consumption for the staple grain is forecast to increase by 2% to 20.5 million tonnes in the coming year. 

The North African country of about 112 million people is estimated to import 10.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2022-23, the lowest level in eight years due mainly to the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine, which the USDA said, “generated an ongoing foreign currency challenge, causing disruption for Egypt’s wheat trade.”