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Egypt sees rise in 2003 wheat harvest
CAIRO , Egypt's main official wheat buyer said on Monday he expected a 200,000 tonne increase in this year's wheat harvest, adding that the size of imports was directly linked to domestic production.
"I've received 1.9 million tonnes of local wheat so far this year, and expect to receive a total of two million tonnes by the time the season ends on September 15. That would be 200,000 tonnes more than last year," said Mahmoud Abdel-Hamid, vice-chairman of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC).
GASC begins receiving local wheat around April 15.
Abdel-Hamid said he also hoped to receive one million tonnes of local corn this year.
"If we receive more local production of wheat and corn next year, it means we will need fewer imports. If local production is less, then we'll need more imports," he told Reuters.
In the 2002/03 marketing year, which ran from June through May, GASC bought just over 3.8 million tonnes of foreign wheat.
US wheat has traditionally been Egypt's favourite, but high prices linked to a drought meant France became the top supplier in the last marketing year.
Since the beginning of June 2003, GASC has purchased 540,000 tonnes of foreign wheat - all from the United States.
Egypt, a country of almost 70 million people, is one of the world's biggest wheat buyers, purchasing some six to seven million tonnes a year.
It last purchased wheat on August 26, buying 60,000 tonnes of US soft red wheat and snubbing offers from French suppliers.
According to the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), Egypt imported 4.98 million tonnes of maize in the year 2001/02, from October to September.
MGR Archive 2.9.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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