Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Egypt Harvested Over 700,000 Wheat Feddan since April

Egypt Harvested Over 700,000 Wheat Feddan since April

Sunday, 8 May, 2022 - 10:00
Egypt's strategic wheat reserves last until the end of next January (Reuters)

Egypt has harvested more than 700,000 feddans of local wheat since the harvest season on April 1.

Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said the country allocated $59.69 million for a down-payment to state grain buyers to purchase wheat from local farmers.

Among the world's biggest wheat importers, Egypt is heavily reliant on shipments from Ukraine and Russia, and its government has been seeking alternative supplies from countries including India and France.

Minister of Supply Ali al-Moselhi said Egypt has 2.6 million tons of imported wheat and targets to collect 5.5-6 million tons of local grain; therefore, strategic wheat reserves can last for 6-9 months.

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Ukraine is the eighth wheat producer with about 25 million tons and ranks fifth in corn production with 3.3 million tons.

FOA said that nearly 25 million tons of grains were stuck in Ukraine with blockades at ports due to the war with Russia

Food prices remain high, despite the drop, due mainly to the combination of military conflict in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.

The FAO's food price index was down just 0.8 percent compared to March.

FAO Deputy Director, Markets and Trade Division Josef Schmidhuber described the situation as "grotesque.”

“We see at the moment in Ukraine with nearly 25 mln tons of grain that could be exported, but that cannot leave the country simply because of lack of infrastructure, the blockade of the ports."

Another concern was that about 700,000 tons of grain may have "disappeared" in Ukraine.

Schmidhuber cautioned that there were no "statistics" about possible theft.

"There's anecdotal evidence that Russian troops have destroyed storage capacity and that they are looting the storage grain that is available," he said. "They are also stealing farm equipment."

The absence of Ukraine as a supplier of grain will put the food supply of the population of Africa in particular at risk, according to the German Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

IfW trade researcher Henrik Mahlkow explained that due to the war, Ukraine is likely to be initially cut off from the global economy after trade routes have been cut, infrastructure destroyed, and all remaining production factors are likely to be directed towards a war economy.

"As the country is one of the most important grain exporters in the world, and especially relevant for Africa. Losing Ukraine as a supplier will noticeably worsen the supply situation across the continent," said Mahlkow.

According to the institute, the consequences would also be felt in Germany, albeit far less dramatically.

The institute's economists made a trade model to simulate Africa's long-term consequences of an end of exports of Ukrainian wheat and other cereals for food production, such as corn or sorghum.

The model calculations did not include cereals used as animal feed, such as corn. Accordingly, Tunisia and Egypt, in particular, would be negatively affected.

Egypt would import over 17 percent less wheat and almost 19 percent less other cereals, while South Africa would import 7 percent less wheat and over 16 percent less other grains.

Editor Picks