Egypt unrest could threaten food security: U.N. agency

ROME Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:34am EDT

An anti-Mursi protester holds up bread to symbolise the lack of food and high food prices while chanting anti-Mursi slogans during a protest in front of the gate of El-Quba, one of the presidential palaces, in Cairo February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

An anti-Mursi protester holds up bread to symbolise the lack of food and high food prices while chanting anti-Mursi slogans during a protest in front of the gate of El-Quba, one of the presidential palaces, in Cairo February 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Asmaa Waguih

ROME (Reuters) - Civil unrest and dwindling foreign exchange reserves raise serious food security concerns in Egypt, the United Nations' food agency said in a report on Thursday.

Cereal import requirements for 2013/14 in Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer, will remain similar to last year despite good prospects for its own harvest, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said, pointing to an expanding population.

But FAO warned in its Crop Prospects and Food Situation report that declining foreign exchange reserves may result in increased restrictions on transactions by Egypt's Central Bank, thus curtailing the imports.

A week after Egypt's army toppled its first democratically elected leader, bloodshed has opened deep fissures in the Arab world's most populous country, with bitterness at levels unseen in its modern history.

(Reporting By Catherine Hornby)

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