Egypt seeks to improve food security and overall agricultural value chain

grain market egyptThe UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have held two workshops from 17-18 July 2018 in Cairo on “Grain Market Data Availability and Quality in Egypt” and “Supply Chain Efficiency & National Food Security”

In cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, other government agencies, the Egyptian Grain Suppliers Association and other private sector representatives, the workshops discussed Egypt’s grain market and overall agricultural value chain.

The first workshop focused on reviewing the methodologies used to collect, prepare and validate Egyptian official estimates on areas planted and harvested, yields, consumption, trade and stocks of grains and oilseeds.

Representatives from grain importing, processing and handling companies provided feedback on the official data and discussed its availability and quality.

The second workshop focused on identifying obstacles facing grain and oilseed imports to enable a more efficient supply chain that will ensure the availability of strategic commodities and reduce the cost of grain imports in the future.

Major governmental and private sector representatives attended the workshop, including the Egyptian Organisation for Standardisation and Quality, the General Organisation for Export and Import Control, the Central Department of Quarantine, the General Administration of Food Control in the grain sector of the Ministry of Health and the National Food Safety Authority.

“These workshops represent a huge leap in the development of supply chains of the grain sector in Egypt, and the development of consolidated methodologies used to collect and validate available data. This is especially important since Egypt is one of the largest grain importers in the world, considering total imports of wheat, maize and oilseeds last year amounted to more than 24mn tonnes,” said Hussein Gadain, FAO representative in Egypt.

“Collecting high quality data on grains requires focusing on a certain number of pillars, the most important of which is the institutions responsible for producing statistical data and information related to the grain sector along the grain value chain in Egypt. One should also focus on the available types of statistics and data base structures, the possible methods of collecting, analysing and presenting these data, as well as the problems of limited available statistics in the possible development areas,” said Shaaban Ali Salem, director of Agriculture Economics Research Institute.

“The Government of Egypt is currently seeking to develop policies and programmes to improve the efficiency of food supply chains in order to build a storage model, which can provide grain in times of emergency and crisis, and protection against global price fluctuations. Another type of storage is the operational storage, which prevents loss of time during grain handling within the supply chain,” said Nomaani Nasr Nomani, advisor to the Minister of Supply and Internal Trade for GASC Affairs.

Egypt is likely to remain the world’s biggest importer of foreign-grown grains for the foreseeable future given the limits to arable land and water supplies. Determined action to improve Egypt’s food security and wheat supplies is therefore vital. The private sector can help improve the sustainability of grain imports in the country by contributing their know-how and financial backing.

The joint FAO-EBRD project, “Public-private dialogue in the Egyptian Grain Sector” contributes to implementing the strategic objectives of FAO to support an efficient network for food production and foster Egypt's national food security strategy by helping eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

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