Are GASC policies alienating foreign traders?
De ja vu — Are GASC’s other, non-ergot related policies alienating foreign driving away exporters including the Ukraine? The General Authority for Supply Commodities’ (GASC) decision earlier this year to raise its requirement for the protein content in wheat imports to 12.5% from 11.5% may cause Ukraine to “tumble out of the Egyptian market,” Ukraine’s Agriculture Minister Maksim Martyniuk tells Reuters. Martyniuk says there is speculation that the decision is meant to favor Russian wheat, and that Ukraine’s hands are tied “because we have no such volumes and specifications that we could supply to Egypt.” A GASC source tells Al Mal that the decision is not meant to target a specific country, and was “entirely technical.”
This comes as the Agriculture Quarantine Authority rejected a 59,000 tonne shipment of French wheat after testing indicated the shipment contained poppy seeds, Al Masry Al Youm reports. A sample from the shipment has been sent to the Agriculture Ministry for confirmation. This is the second time in less than one month that the authority has turned away wheat for containing poppy seeds, after a 63k tonne shipment from Romania was rejected last month.
All the while the government looks set to expand domestic production, with plans to increase the area for wheat cultivation by 500k feddans next year through incentives, Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Hamed Abdel Dayem tells Reuters.