Egypt says wheat reserves sufficient
Cairo, April 26, 2008
Egypt has enough strategic reserves of wheat to meet domestic consumption needs for the next 3-1/2 months, a government minister said on Saturday.
State news agency Mena quoted social solidarity minister Ali Musailhi as saying there were 2.3 million tonnes of wheat already in the country, the most populous in the Arab world.
That quantity, combined with unspecified amounts Egypt has contracted for, can meet its needs to the second week of August, Mena quoted Musailhi as saying.
Musailhi said he was also expecting 3.5 million tonnes of domestic wheat this season. Higher global wheat prices in recent months have squeezed the world's major wheat-importing countries such as Egypt, whose main government wheat buyer, GASC, has bought over 6 million tonnes of overseas wheat in the fiscal year that began on July 1.
GASC-purchased wheat is the main source for subsidised flour which the government uses to make bread for the urban poor.
A larger than usual quantity bought by GASC this fiscal year reflects the demand for government-subsidised bread in Egypt, driven by higher prices for free-market bread and other staples.-Reuters