Egypt's wheat supplies enough to last until June - new minister

Monday 03-03-2014 02:18 PM
Egypt's wheat supplies enough to last until June - new minister

Wheat is seen in Toukh, El-Kalubia governorate, about 25 km (16 miles) northeast of Cairo, April 12, 2013.REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh


CAIRO, March 3 (Reuters) - Egypt's new supplies minister said its wheat stocks were enough to last until June after it had imported 4.5 million tonnes since July.

Khaled Hanafi, who was appointed last week, also said at a press conference in Cairo on Monday that Egypt aimed to cut its spending on wheat imports after finding solutions for its subsidised bread programme.

Egypt, which buys around 10 million tonnes of wheat a year from abroad, has struggled to cut spending on the programme, which provides loaves of bread to Egyptian at a cost of one U.S. cent each.

"We will work on lowering the wheat import bill after finding solutions to ration the bread subsidies," Hanafi said. "I am currently working on a new system to subsidise the citizen who buys the bread."

Egypt uses a combination of local and imported wheat to produce subsidised bread, which costs the government around 21 billion Egyptian pounds ($3 billion) a year. ($1 = 6.9607 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; writing by Asma Alsharif; editing by Jane Baird)

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