The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) contracted on Friday to buy 300,000 tonnes of wheat from France, Romania, Ukraine, and Argentine following an international tender.
Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafy explained in a statement that the quantity includes 120,000 tonnes from Romania and 60,000 tonnes from each of the rest of the aforementioned countries.
Hanafy said the quantity made the wheat reserves sufficient until mid-June.The price of each tonne is $185.4, with the importing process to start from 26 March, over a period of 10 days.
Egypt faces an impending crisis in its main food commodity after suppliers have boycotted a tender issued earlier this month in protest of new import regulations.
GASC cancelled two wheat tenders this month without indicating reasons for the cancellation, however traders told media that new specifications set by the Ministry of Agriculture are driving them away.
Tension between GASC and suppliers escalated after GASC rejected a 63,000 tonne import shipment of wheat from France in January, which contained a 0.05% trace of ergot fungi. Another French wheat shipment was also rejected in December by the Central Administration of Agricultural Quarantine.
The rejection of wheat import shipments raised concerns over whether EU countries would halt their grain exports to Egypt completely.
Egypt is the world’s top importer of wheat, with some 10m tonnes of imports each year. Along with the domestic production of wheat, this amount is used to provide subsidised bread to the country’s population of over 90 million people.
The quantity of wheat held in Egypt silos is unknown. The government is said to calculate wheat reserves while including shipments that have not yet arrived.
Domestic production of wheat in Egypt is declining due to a reduction in the area of arable land allocated for its cultivation as farmers have turned to more profitable crops, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on grains in Egypt.