Egypt’s strategic wheat reserves hit an all-time high in the first week of December, Minister of Supply Ali Moselhy told Daily News Egypt on Monday at an event to mark the launch of a new project in the Delta region.
“We have about 4.3 months worth of wheat in our strategic reserves, which is a new record high,” Moselhy added.
Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat and consumes around 15 million tonnes of wheat annually.
This is mostly used to supply its substantial subsidised bread programme, relied on by tens of millions of Egyptians.
“We are working on varying our wheat sources from international markets to make sure we have enough reserves with high quality,” the minister added.
Egypt has previously said it aims to buy about 4-4.5 million tonnes of wheat from farmers this season while cracking down on smuggling that has cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years.
The country purchased about 5.6 million tonnes of wheat during the 2016-17 season, which ends with the start of the local harvest, a nearly 25 percent leap from the roughly 4.5 million tonnes purchased last year, according to official data.
This year the country scrapped a subsidy programme to curtail widespread fraud, which inflated local procurement figures last year.
A government-led inspection of wheat silos after an unusually high procurement figure found that more than 2 million of the 5.6 million tonnes of wheat bought by the government last year might have existed only on paper, according to Reuters.