CAIRO Feb 28 Top wheat importer Egypt will
raise the price it pays for local wheat during the coming
harvest season to 400 Egyptian pounds per ardeb (150 kg) -
around $400 a tonne - from 380 pounds, to lessen reliance on
Egypt's wheat imports are sharply down this year as it
endures economic and political crisis but state and private
buyers say the state is allocating priority financing for wheat
imports. They are also looking for an increase in domestic
"The price of the ardab has been set at 400 pounds ($59.4),"
said Salah Moawad, head of the agricultural services sector at
Egypt's agriculture ministry. "An ardab is 150 kilograms
therefore the tonne is at 2,666.50 pounds ($400)."
"This is for the new harvest which will start in end-April.
This is for the next summer's crop," Moawad said.
Moawad said the decision was taken about 5 months ago,
adding it raises the targeted amount of local wheat supplied to
the government the coming season to 4 million tonnes, up from an
average target of 2.4-3.7 million tonnes in previous years.
A Cairo-based trader said: "I don't think this new price
incentive to farmers will reduce the amount of wheat Egypt needs
"The reason imports are down this year is because the
country had stocks from the previous year," the trader said.
"The cost of local wheat ends up being pricier for Egypt
because of the high subsidies the government pays the farmer,"
the trader said.
The country's supplies minister said on Wednesday that Egypt
has strategic stocks of nearly 2.3 million tonnes of the grain
from international and local suppliers, enough to last until May
29, 2013. Buyers say they have funds to keep the nation supplied
with its staple bread.
Egypt has a history of bread riots but maintained supplies
of heavily subsidised flat loaves - which sell to the poor for
just 5 piastres (less than 1 U.S. cent) - throughout the
uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Banks involved in commodity trade finance for the country
said on Wednesday that Egypt's state grains buyer General
Authority for Supply Commodities, (GASC), is exploring options
beyond systematic tenders to secure future needs.
($1 = 6.7392 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed; Editing by Anthony Barker)