By Abdel Qader Ramadan
Jordan’s Ministry of Industry and Trade submitted a formal request to the Egyptian Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade last week to allow the import of 20,000 tons of Egyptian rice to Jordan as an exception to the ban on rice exports, said Issa Haider Murad, chairman of the Amman Chamber of Commerce.
“We have asked Egypt also to provide various agricultural products, supply commodities and fruits in order to compensate for the shortfall that Jordan witnessed in these categories following the deterioration of commercial traffic with Syria, as well as Jordan accommodates a large number of Syrian refugees, Palestinians and Egyptian workers,” he said.
Jordan imports a type of medium grain rice similar to Egypt’s products from a number of places including the United States, Spain and Italy, although the Egyptian variety is cheaper. Jordan imports other types of rice from Thailand and Pakistan, and the nation’s rice imports reach up to 80,000-100,000 tons per year.
Egypt consumes approximately 2.5m tons of white rice per year while it produces approximately 3.5m tons, translating into a surplus of up to 1m tons per year. Several years ago, the government began scaling back cultivation to cut water consumption, imposing a ban on exports in 2008.
Jordan was one of the first countries to declare its support for the roadmap announced by former defense minister and army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on 3 July last year, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.