Cairo - The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has contracted to purchase 60,000 tons of wheat from Ukraine to produce subsidised bread, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Khaled Hanafy said, noting that the wheat will be imported starting on 20 June over a period of 10 days. Contradictory to this statement, Hanafy said on 11 May Egypt would not start importing wheat until July. Hanafy added, according to Friday statement from the ministry, that the purchased wheat from local farmers and traders since mid-April until now amounts to 2.5m tons, marking 60% from the targeted 4m tons of wheat, which are expected to supplied until mid-July. In April, GASC contracted to purchase a total amount of 230,000 tons of wheat from Russia, Ukraine and Romania to produce subsidised bread. Egypt consumes 15m tons of wheat per year, according to official figures from the supply ministry.
In efforts to improve the trading process of subsidised commodities, Hanafy pointed out in a statement on Thursday that an online logistics network will be established to connect productions areas, ministry’s outlets and supply grocers. Hanafy also promised to improve the subsidies system, noting that this week will witness the inauguration of a consumer complex in Cairo’s Nasr City that will provide citizens with “high quality products at low prices”. The minister noted that government’s new smartcard bread subsidy system, which offers a maximum of 150 loaves for each citizen per month, is set to be implemented in Cairo “within several days”, adding that it will serve 2.7m citizens through 500 bakeries.
“This system will lead to the suspension of unofficial bakeries that smuggle wheat,” Hanafy said. Meanwhile, an agreement between the supply ministry, the Social Development Fund (SFD) and the Industrial Development Bank has been signed on Thursday, offering concessional loans with a value up to EGP 2m to subsidised bakery owners who want to develop their bakeries.(Source: Daily News Egypt)