Egypt's Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation has reportedly prepared a new plan aimed at increasing national wheat production in an effort to offset the negative impact of recent high temperatures on the strategic crop.
According to the terms of the plan, the ministry will encourage the use of approved seeds–produced by the Central Administration for the Production of Seeds and the private sector–to sow a total area of 3.25 million acres of land with wheat instead of the current 600,000 acres. Framers of the plan also hope to raise overall productivity to 22 ardebs of wheat per acre of land instead of the current 18 ardebs per acre–representing a projected increase of 22 percent–within the coming five-year period.
The plan, which is to be implemented by the ministry’s technical committees and agriculture directorates nationwide, also aims to reduce production waste levels during transport and storage from 20 percent to less than 10 percent. This way, planners hope to offset expected wheat supply shortages resulting from climate changes in Russia and Central Asia, Egypt's two leading wheat suppliers.
“Egypt is the world’s largest consumer of wheat,” Ayman Abu Hadid, head of Egypt's Agricultural Research Center, said in a press statement on Sunday, pointing out that Egypt imported roughly eight million tons of wheat every year. “Egypt also boasts the highest bread consumption rates in the world, especially among low-income social brackets.”
“Population increases of between 1.5 and 2 million people every year are mostly added to low-income brackets,” Abu Hadid added. “This translates into a rising annual demand for imported wheat, especially within the context of Egypt's limited water and land resources.”
Translated from the Arabic Edition.