FAO Investment Centre

Egypt continues to upgrade its grain sector

Bakery in Cairo, Egypt

The Egyptian Government has long subsidized baladi bread – a mainstay in the Egyptian diet – made from 82 percent wheat flour extraction, with wheat purchased domestically and abroad.

To keep this guarantee and feed its vast and growing population, Egypt has become one of the world’s leading wheat importers. It imports over 12 million tonnes of wheat – a figure likely to increase to more than 15 million tonnes by 2028.

With support from FAO and the EBRD, the Egyptian Government continues to upgrade operations across its grain sector, from regular health inspections and quality controls to proper storage and transportation. And it works to resolve bottlenecks throughout the entire supply chain. This allows the country to manage the large volumes of wheat imports more efficiently and cost-effectively while also safeguarding basic food security and consumer safety.

In 2019, FAO and the EBRD continued working as neutral brokers with the Egyptian Government and private sector in promoting greater public-private dialogue around Egypt’s grain sector.

This dialogue has resulted in important regulatory and policy changes over the years, like greater reliance on private sector inspection companies in the port of exports and a transition to more targeted consumer subsidies.

Engagement with public and private partners has resulted in better coordination on plant quarantine, product sampling on grain quality and safety and other issues, leading to improved grain sector performance and increased investment in Egypt. For example, investments have increased public and private grain storage capacity – from around 4.3 million tonnes in 2014 to 6.1 million tonnes in 2019.

FAO and the EBRD are looking to reduce transaction costs by introducing e-phytosanitary certificates into the Egyptian grain trade. Going paperless will ease the administrative burden of processing grain cargos. It will also help Egypt boost agricultural exports by replacing roughly 200 000 paper certificates with electronic ones.

Discussions are also ongoing on reducing trade finance costs and improving efficiency on wheat import tenders based on the experiences of other Arab countries.

Photo credit ?FAO/Jordi Vaque
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