Egypt to halt rice exports until further notice

26 Nov 2013

(MENAFN) The head of the rice committee of Egypt’s Agricultural Export Council said that Egypt suspended rice exports less than a week after issuing licenses to sell the grain aboard, The Peninsula Qatar reported.

“We are of course very upset about this decision, which only serves to confuse the market,” Mostafa El Naggari said. Egypt recently granted licenses allowing exporters to sell 102,000 tons of white medium-grain rice. The licenses allowed export of rice for a period until January 15.

The Ministry of Supply has since then suspended exports until all of the domestic needs for the government subsidy program are met, Naggari said. Egypt has an exportable surplus estimated at 800,000 tons of rice this year. Egypt’s local consumption amounts to around 4 million tons of white rice a year, of which around 1.1 million tons are used for its subsidized rice program.

The Ministry of Supply holds tenders to buy rice for the subsidy program. Rice is sold at the price of USD0.22 a kilo to over 60 million Egyptians under that system. Naggari said that Egypt should rely more heavily on imported lower-priced long-grain rice for its subsidy program and sell its pricier medium-grain rice abroad for more profit.

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