Egypt sees wheat crop close to 10m T
Cairo, April 22, 2013
Egypt's wheat crop will be close to 10 million tonnes this season, agriculture minister Salah Abdel Momen said on Sunday as the harvest gets underway, more than the supply minister's 9.5 million tonne forecast.
Abdel Momen was speaking to the state news agency.
Typically the world's biggest importer of wheat, Egypt is hoping a bumper crop this year will let it cut back on imports as the state grapples with an economic crisis that has depleted its reserves of foreign currency.
Bassem Ouda, the minister of supplies, had forecast a harvest of 9.5 million tonnes. About half of the crop ends up in government flour mills.
The latest US Department of Agriculture report on Egypt forecast production will increase 2.3 per cent to 8.7 million tonnes this year due to an expanded area under cultivation. But it said diesel fuel shortages could disrupt the harvest.
It said that government forecasts of state procurement of 4 to 5 million tonnes seemed unrealistic; adding that the government was setting import and stock policies based on local crop production overestimations.
Egypt usually imports about 10 million tonnes a year, which might cost it just over $3 billion. But this year the state says it will buy only around 4-5 million tonnes abroad, hoping to get the rest from local production. - Reuters