CAIRO, June 1, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's strategic stock of wheat is sufficient for for five months, Supply Minister Ali Meselhy revealed late Thursday.
The sugar is sufficient for 5.2 months and edible oils for 3.7 months, the minister said in a statement.
Meselhy’s remarks come on the sidelines of inking a protocol of cooperation between the Ministry of Supply and Suez governorate.
The supply ministry is keen to develop the domestic trade system as it represents about 16 to 17% of the Gross National Product, Meselhy added.
Also, the ministry is working to open up more markets nationwide to contribute to reducing the costs of goods transportation and losses incurred by traders, he added.
By Amira Sayed
Will quinoa, the “Mother of all grain” for the ancient Andean civilisation of the Incas (The first civilisation of south America) become something of the sort for Egypt? That still remains to be seen. But with the Ministry of Agriculture planning to expand its cultivation as a possible substitute for wheat it is a valid question.
The country’s great dependence on wheat, which makes it the world’s top wheat importer, has made a search for a substitute inevitable in order to ensure food security.
The campaign is also part of the government’s unrelenting efforts to lessen imports and overcome water shortage and climate change hurdles.
The Irrigation Ministry has, for example, curbed the cultivation of rice, which is hugely dependent on water for its cultivation. The growing need to rely on other sources of water than the Nile for crop irrigation made this essential.
Agriculture is the country’s largest water consumer. And the Irrigation Ministry reduced the area cultivated in rice from 1.7 million feddans to 724, 000 feddans. This step, according to the ministry, helps save nearly three billion cubic metres of water.
Rice, according to the ministry, requires 6,000 cubic metres of water per feddan while quinoa needs approximately 500 cubic metres. The ministry also pointed out that quinoa can help reduce the cultivation of certain types of wheat which consume large quantities of water.
According to the Supply Ministry, the country is planning to import seven million tonnes of wheat in the 2018-2019 financial year.
Quinoa is a seed with a high nutritional value as it is rich in iron and fibre, protein, zinc, magnesium and calcium besides a number of other minerals. A gluten-free crop, it can be ground into flour to make various types of bread. It can also be used in making biscuits, desserts, baby food and quinoa flakes.
“Quinoa is the crop of the century. It can be grown in very tough weather conditions, showing a high productivity. It can be cultivated in newly-reclaimed zones and salty soil,” Ahmed Gad, Professor of Economic Agriculture at Benha University, told The Egyptian Gazette.
As the country steps up its efforts to reclaim new land, quinoa is the most suitable grain to be grown in those areas. It is unlike other grains which require certain types of soil and good weather conditions, Gad said.
“In this way, the country can make the best use of the new reclaimed areas and, in the meantime, put a dent in wheat imports,” he said.
According to the Agricultural Research Centre (ARC), a single feddan of salty soil can produce one tonne of quinoa. Quinoa was first cultivated here in 2005 in a project implemented by ARC in co-operation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
It was planted in Nuweiba in South Sinai to test the crop’s adaptability to tough, dry weather conditions. Amazingly, it flourished. It showed great productivity. And this prompted the FAO to announce that quinoa could play a major role in resolving malnutrition problems and food shortages in developing countries.
Quinoa, the ARC said, showed adaptability to new irrigation systems which rationalise the use of water in agriculture. “Quinoa, I think, is a suitable alternative to staples, like rice and wheat. I think it is the crop of the century,” Gad said.
Other experts said quinoa could be a supplementary crop but it could not replace wheat or rice. “First, its taste is different from that of wheat. And this would require a lot of work to change people’s perception of this crop. The country cannot entirely rely on quinoa as an alternative to wheat,” Mohamed Shahbour, a Professor of Agriculture in South Valley Governorate, told The Gazette.
He said the government can expand the cultivation of quinoa with the aim of exporting it and earning hard currency for the country. “Quinoa exports can help ease the financial burden of wheat imports, helping the country strike a balance. But quinoa cannot replace wheat in the local market,” he said.
RED SEA, Egypt, April 21, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's Safaga Port received on Saturday a vessel carrying 63,000 tons of wheat from Russia.
Measures will be taken by the port authorities to check the shipment before it is unloaded, spokesperson for the Red Sea Ports Authority Malak Youssef said in a statement.
Safaga Port also received two ships laden with 362 passengers, 86 trucks and 11 cars, the spokesperson added.
Cairo, April 20, 2018 (Reuters) - Egypt, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, has purchased 190,000 tonnes of locally-produced wheat since the season began last week, state news agency MENA reported on Friday, citing the Supply Ministry.
The government said last year it would buy wheat from local farmers at global prices this season, which began on April 15 and ends on July 15.
Egypt set its local wheat buying price at 570-600 Egyptian pounds ($32-$34) per ardeb (150 kilograms) last week, tying it to international prices but angering farmers who warned it could push them to grow other more profitable crops next season.
Egypt is planning to import 7 million tonnes of the grain in the 2018-2019 financial year and hopes to pay an average price of $220 a tonne cost and freight for the wheat, according to a budget proposal document seen by Reuters this month.
CAIRO, April 5, 2018 - After checking 28 feddans of a total 26,237 feddans planted in wheat, an Agriculture Ministry official said on Thursday that a good wheat harvest could be expected.
A likely increase in the wheat crop would be due to efforts exerted to cultivate uninfected plants, the official said.
Three types of high-quality wheat were cultivated, according to the Agriculture Ministry.