All You Need to Know about Egypt’s New Wheat Policy

The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation’s (MALR) Central Administration for Plant Quarantine on November 14, 2017 came up with a new set of guidelines to regulate international wheat trade in Egypt. The move came after Supply Minister Ali Moselhy told media on October 2017 that the Government would soon come up with new wheat import policy in the country.

Egypt’s new wheat import policy details all procedures, specification and regulations for the Egyptian Wheat Traders in the country who import and sell wheat to the world’s largest wheat importer.

However, the think tanks around the world say that the latest wheat import guidelines issued by Egyptian Government actually aim at calming nervous suppliers who are irked by the inconsistent import rules and erratic inspection procedures.

“Majority of the Wheat Traders in Egypt have been adding high-risk premiums because of the uncertainty looming over the wheat trade in Egypt.” Said Ashraf- El Attal, the former president of Grain and Feed Trade association.

According to Ashraf El Attal, “The negative impact of the ‘baseless’ allegations discourage traders from importing wheat.

In the year 2017, several loads were allegedly found containing poppy seeds and Ergot Fungus. Some wheat cargoes were delayed owing to the costly additional procedures.

Supply Minister Ali Moselhy at an Event in Dubai told media that the new regulations combine relevant trade specifications and rules to avoid uncertainties. But most Egyptian wheat traders say that the new rules and guideline are inconsistent and abuse of power.

“Russia has a very good quality wheat and always up to the international standards,” said Ashraf El Attal, former president Grain and Feed Trade association. He is the current CEO of Fortuna DMC, a commodities trading house based in Dubai.

Moselhy said that with these new guidelines, the State aims at limiting wheat imports around 7 million tonnes in fiscal 2018-2019.

Here is the Egypt’s new Wheat import policy:

1. According to the Directive No. 48 released on October 31, 2017, now the importer has the right to demand from the Customs Authority in the country a custom certificate. The certificate should be issued before the cargo arrives at the port to facilitate easy inspection procedure.

2. For shipments weighing above 25,000 metric tons, shipment inspection can be done in the inner anchorage as well.

3. In consultation with the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA), carry out an initial inspection of the wheat cargoes and Vessel. The samples taken are tested in laboratories.

4. The wheat importers or their representatives and inspection company representatives can now attend the inspection along with tripartite committee AEA in the inner anchorage at the destination port.

5. And once the shipment arrives at the port, following rules need to be followed:

a) Radioactivity inspection of suspected wheat shipments. The rule applies to the Russian, Romanian, and Ukrainian wheat.

b) The visual inspection that is carried out by CAPQ will allow releasing the shipment if it contains dead insects, but the wheat importer has to give in writing that the particular purchase will be sieved during milling.

c) The wheat importer must commit to using proper sieves to remove dead insects from the wheat.

d) After separating, dead insect samples will be sent to labs for identification.

e)The mill will dispose of the waste material.

f) For the wheat shipments containing non- narcotic poppy seeds, ministry procedures will be followed and for narcotic poppy seeds, procedure will be followed as per regulating legislation.

Bottom Line

According to Ashraf El Attal, Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat in the world. It should cooperate with the countries that provide it the wheat. “Russia has a very good quality wheat and always up to the international standards. This year, Russia became the largest wheat exporter in the world with an estimated export volume of 36 MMT,” Attal said.