CAIRO, March 24 Egypt's government has allocated
11 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) to buy 4.5 million tonnes of
wheat from local farmers this year, state media said on Sunday
as the most populous Arab country struggles to ensure supplies.
Economic turmoil and a weakening local currency has made it
harder for the government to import wheat, a sensitive issue in
the North African country as rising food prices have sparked
unrest in the past.
Earlier this month, the cabinet said Egypt's strategic
stocks of wheat had fallen to 2.207 million tonnes, enough to
last 89 days. This compares with 2.292 million tones reported in
The government plans to spend 11 billion pounds to buy up
around 4.5 million tonnes wheat from local farmers this year,
state news agency MENA said after a cabinet meeting.
In total, Egypt expects local wheat production to rise to
between 9 million and 10 million tonnes, MENA said, without
giving a time frame. That would be well above the record
production of 8.523 million tonnes reported in 2009/10.
Egypt needs to import half of its wheat needs to feed its
population of 84 million people.
The Egyptian pound has fallen 8 percent since the start of
the year as concerns deepen about the state of the country, hit
by political infighting and unrest two years after the fall of
President Hosni Mubarak.
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Marguerita Choy)