wheat
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.
 
CAIRO, EGYPT — Egypt has appointed a new head of its agriculture quarantine agency, Najla Mousa Balabel, according to Reuters. The agency did not give a reason for the change and Balabel replaces Ibrahim Imbaby.

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.

The Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation on Sept. 27, 2016, said it reached an agreement with SGS SA under which SGS will examine imported wheat to confirm it complies with Egyptian standards. SGS is a Geneva, Switzerland-based inspection service. The move signals a change from the way Egypt previously handled inspections. Previously,
the inspections were carried out by six Egyptian officials, including two from the quarantine department.

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.