Cairo- With the continuation of the Russian war on Ukraine, the negative economic repercussions are increasing on the Egyptian economy, as data from the Egyptian government showed a decrease in wheat stocks, in conjunction with the embassies of Russia and Ukraine in Cairo exchanging accusations about disrupting a ship carrying Ukrainian wheat on its way to Egypt.
Following the cabinet meeting on Monday, Egyptian government spokesman Nader Saad said that his country’s wheat stock is now sufficient to cover domestic consumption for a period of 2.6 months, coinciding with the start of the local wheat harvest season, and supplying it to official authorities.
This comes despite the government’s previous announcement by more than one official that the wheat stockpile would suffice for 4 months, while Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly confirmed in previous statements that the wheat stock is sufficient for the end of the year, due to the beginning of the local wheat harvest season.
Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world, and the amount of its imports of wheat reached 6.1 million tons during the first 11 months of 2021, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (a government agency).
According to the data of the Statistics Authority, Russia and Ukraine provide about 80% of the Egyptian imports of wheat, and Russia topped the list of the top 10 countries from which Egypt imported wheat during 2021, with a quantity of 4.2 million, or 69.4% of Egypt’s total wheat imports, while Ukraine ranked The second, with a quantity of 651.4 thousand tons, or 10.7%.
wheat ship crisis
The Ukrainian embassy in Egypt said on Monday that Russia had prevented a ship loaded with Ukrainian wheat from moving, after Cairo had bought it, and the US embassy in Cairo republished the tweet of the Ukrainian embassy.
On the other hand, the Russian embassy denied – in the early hours of Tuesday morning – what the Ukrainian side said about banning the wheat ship, noting that it is the Ukrainian military forces that prevent the movement of ships in the Odessa and Chernomorsk regions, while the Russian Navy guarantees the freedom of movement of commercial ships.
Because of the escalation of the war in Ukraine and the rise in wheat prices globally, Egypt recently canceled two tenders to import wheat from other countries due to the high prices.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly says that Egypt has enough wheat until the end of the year because the local harvest will start next April pic.twitter.com/uKDjd9pFTF
– Al Jazeera Egypt (@AJA_Egypt) March 9, 2022
The Sanad Agency for Monitoring and Verification of News of the Al-Jazeera network monitored the itinerary of the ship loaded with wheat in the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, through the navigational data published by the accounts of the US and Ukrainian embassies as follows:
- The ship “EMMAKRIS III” – flying the flag of Panama and belonging to an Emirati company – unloaded a cargo of goods from Russia in the port of Damietta and then headed to Ukraine.
- The ship left the Egyptian port of Damietta on the fifth of last February to reach the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk on February 22, two days before the war.
- The ship was loaded with goods on March 16th.
- The ship has settled in the port since its entry until today in its position.
- The Russian authorities, in turn, accused the Ukrainian army of laying naval mines in several ports in Odessa, including the port of Chornomorsk, and prevented shipping traffic to and from these ports.
- There are other ships that did not move, including the Turkish ship Ragip Yagci in the port of Chernomorsk
Hope for local production
The Egyptian government is relying a lot on local wheat – whose harvest season begins in the middle of this month – to cover the deficit in its stocks, and to face any possible delay in wheat deals as a result of the continuation of the war.
Last March, the government announced an additional incentive of 65 pounds per ardeb on the prices of local wheat imports, so that farmers would receive between 865 and 885 pounds per ardeb, an increase of 8% over the price set last November, while the Farmers Syndicate demanded an increase in the price to One thousand pounds (one dollar equals 18.24 pounds).
Yesterday, Monday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced the provision of 1.1 billion pounds as an advance payment under an account to purchase the local wheat crop, in order to allow immediate payment of farmers’ dues, and so that this season would be the highest in facilitating procedures and the quantity of wheat supplied.
Egypt relies heavily on wheat for its food by consuming more than 16 million tons of wheat annually, including about 9 million tons for the production of subsidized bread, which is spent on ration cards to produce nearly 270 million loaves per day, benefiting 71 million citizens.
Domestic production is only sufficient for 34.5% of Egypt’s wheat needs, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, and the total that was imported in 2019 was about 13 million tons, including 7 million tons for the public sector (the Supply Commodities Authority) and 6 million tons for the private sector, with a bill that exceeded 3 billion. dollar.
But the wheat import bill is likely to increase by about one billion dollars, as Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said – earlier – that the rise in wheat prices around the world will increase the cost of imports by 15 billion pounds (about one billion dollars) in this year’s budget.
Source : Al Jazeera + Sanad Agency + Social Media