CAIRO: The Egyptian government announced in a statement Friday it will “soon” import a total of 80,000 tons of rice to meet an expected rising market demand during the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when Muslims fast.
The decision was taken after a meeting held by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail with the ministers of finance and supply, the head of the Central Agency for Statistics and Mobilization (CAPMAS), and other concerned bodies, the statement added.
The country’s rice stock is not sufficient until Ramadan so the government has to import the required amount, Ministry of Supply spokesperson Mohamoud Diab said in a talk show on ON T.V. Friday. Rice is a basic commodity that is a common factor in a typical Egyptian meal.
Egypt was one of the biggest countries exporting rice. However, In September 2014, the government imposed an export ban on the rice to meet the local market demands before the ban was lifted in October 2015.
Again, on March 31, 2016, the export ban was imposed as of April to meet the local demand, announced Minister of Trade and Industry Tarq Kabil in a statement. He noted that Egypt has exported a total of 40,000 tons in these six months.
Egypt has produced around 4.5 million tons of rice last year, and it is expected to produce 4.4 million tons this year, according to the trade ministry statistics. Meanwhile, it is expected that the consumption rate would reach 3.6 million tons in 2016.
Rice price in local market has witnessed a hike in the past two months as a kilo of rice is being sold for 8.5 EGP ($0.96) rather than 5.5 EGP ($0.62). In a statement early April, the Supply Ministry spokesperson said price hike is caused by “rice merchants’ monopoly.”
To reduce negative impacts of cultivating rice which needs a lot of water, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigations has determined number of acres for rice cultivation this year, to avoid Nile water waste and rationalize its use.