The Ministry of Finance allocated EGP 16bn to the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) to buy 4 million tonnes of local wheat at a price ranging between EGP 555 and EGP 775 per ardeb (5.62 US bushels), according to Minister of Supply and Internal Trading Aly Meselhi.
In a press conference on Saturday, Meselhi said that the GASC will promote the wheat in the coming season, which will be stored in silos of the Egyptian Holding Company for Silos and Storage and at the Egyptian Agriculture Bank.
He added that no silos will be rented except if extremely necessary. He explained that the ministry is now coordinating with the governorates to assess the size of storage available in each of them before the season begins in mid April.
In a related context, Meselhi said that there are 55.5 million ration cards with confirmed data, along with 6 million cards with unconfirmed data. He noted that the six million cards represent 19 million beneficiaries, pointing out that the ministry has filtered 301,000 cards since the initiative was launched earlier this month.
He added that the campaign to filter the cards is still ongoing and is being conducted in cooperation with the ministries of military production and communication. He pointed out that the Ministry of Military Production will finish updating data within 60 days.
Additionally, the minister said that the budget draft being reviewed at the parliament for the next fiscal year 2017/2018 includes EGP 60bn allocated for bread subsidies, along with EGP 26bn for food commodity subsidies.
Meselhi stressed that the ministry guarantees the inflow of basic goods, whereas it imports 5-6 million tonnes of wheat per year, next to the 4.5 million tonnes of local grain to bridge the gap between production and consumption.
He noted that Egypt cannot cultivate over 1.1 million feddans (1.142 million acres) of rice, due to the current water problems.
In another context, he said that Egypt consumes 3.3 million tonnes of sugar, while it produces 2.2 million tonnes. He explained that the ministry agreed with factories to import raw sugar to fill the gap.
He pointed out that Egypt does not produce oil products, except for some plants that operate on soybeans, where 97% of raw oil is imported and refined in six refineries.