The country is the world’s largest importer of wheat and since the end of 2015, the nation has flip-flopped its policies regarding the fungus, first allowing 0.05% and then requiring zero tolerance for ergot.
In 2016, widespread allegations of fraud prompted the Egyptian government to increase inspections of privately-owned silos. After finding inconsistencies, a parliamentary fact-finding commission was formed to investigate the fraud allegations, uncovering a discrepancy of 200,000 tonnes that had been over reported, worth $63 million, from only 10 sites out of 135 sites where private silos and barns were implementing the program. According to the report, government officials, domestic suppliers, and private silo owners appear to have colluded by overstating local procurement numbers and pocketing government payments.
In wake of the allegations and fraud, Khaled Hanafy, Egypt’s former minister of supply, resigned during a cabinet meeting on Aug. 24, 2016. The resignation came four days before the report’s findings were presented to Egypt’s parliament, as pressure mounted from all sides for him to step down.