Reference Date: 12-June-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Above-average cereal crop forecast for 2014
Average cereal import requirement envisaged
Food inflation easing slightly in April 2014 but still at high levels
Favourable prospects for 2014 cereal crop production
Harvesting of the 2014 winter grain crop is close to completion. Reports and satellite data indicate that the conditions for crop development in 2014 were favourable. The 2014 cereal harvest is forecast to be above the five-year average and similar to last year’s harvest.
The 2013 cereal production was estimated at about 21.5 million tonnes. At this level, the crop was about 5 percent lower than in 2012 and about the same as the five-year average. Efforts are underway to increase water and land productivity as well as to utilize drought-tolerant higher yielding varieties. Streamlining post-harvest handling, transportation and storage will also result in higher production. High Government procurement prices in 2013/14, EGP 420/ardeb (USD 400/tonne), are also encouraging additional plantings. Nevertheless, high transportation costs are preventing some farmers from delivering to the Government. The Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit is starting a programme to finance agricultural co-operatives to allow them to access funding before the wheat supply season.
Cereal import requirements forecast at average levels
Egypt remains the world’s largest wheat importer. Accordingly, cereal import requirements in the next 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at about 18.2 million tonnes, about 5 percent higher than the previous year and almost 10 percent higher than the five-year average. Wheat imports for the just ending 2013/14 marketing year are estimated at 17.4 million tonnes, about 22 percent and 8 percent, respectively higher than the previous year and the average. Available trade data indicate that until March 2014, 8.2 million tonnes of wheat was imported.
The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) announced, in mid‑May 2014, that Egypt’s strategic reserves of wheat are enough until the end of July 2014 and that the level of reserves would increase after the expected purchase of domestic wheat from farmers which started in mid‑April and should last until July. The Government expects to purchase 4.25 million tonnes of wheat from local farmers in 2014/15. Imported wheat is mixed with local wheat to increase its gluten content.
High food inflation rates despite some decline in December
The annual food and beverage inflation rate in April 2014 was 13.41 percent compared to 15.61 percent in April 2013. The decrease in food inflation was mainly attributed to lower inflation rates in April for eggs and butter.
The Government’s expenditure on the bread subsidy programme and concerns over its sustainability together with the budgetary implications have provoked heated discussions in the country. According to the Egyptian Food Observatory, not all vulnerable households eligible for food subsidies have access to ration cards. Losses in the supply chain of subsidized Baladi bread stand at over 25 percent some of which could be reduced by improving storage facilities.
According to UNHCR, as of June 2014, there were 137 000 registered Syrian refugees in Egypt. In response, WFP is planning to assist 76 000 beneficiaries by December 2014.