The Egyptian rice crisis … and strict measures from the Egyptian government (Getty)
A former member of the Chamber of Grain Industry confirmed that the Minister of Supply, Ali Moselhi, rejected an offer made by the owners of private mills to supply free rice to the ministry at a price of 13.5 pounds per kilogram, in return for buying it from the ministry at a price of 7100 pounds per ton of rice and barley.
The Source said, in statements to The New Arab: “The Ministry of Supply allowed a limited number of private sector companies to buy and market free rice, which led to the closure of many private mills, after decisions banning the circulation and transportation of barley rice without the ministry’s approval.”
He added, “The ministry sells barley rice to these companies at a price of 7,100 pounds per ton, bringing the price of a ton after (beating) and packaging to 11,000 pounds, which means that these companies earn 7 thousand pounds per ton, at a daily rate of 1.3 million pounds per company. “.
The Holding Company for Food Industries affiliated to the Ministry of Supply contracted with Al-Doha Rice Company (privately) to supply 700 tons in the branches of the Nile consumer complexes, at a price of 16.5 pounds per kilogram.
Ali Al-Moselhi, the Egyptian Minister of Supply, issued a decision, on Saturday, obligating the holders of the commodity of barley rice, as well as white, from farmers, merchants, speculators, and others, to notify the Directorates of Supply and Internal Trade of the rice data stored with them according to the form prepared for that.
The decision stipulated that the holders of the rice commodity be given a period of one week, starting from the date of issuance of the decision on the nineteenth of November, to finish notifying the competent directorates of Supply and Internal Trade at the level of the Republic, and in the event that violating quantities were seized after the expiry of the specified period, a penalty would be imposed on them. Its owner shall be imprisoned for a period of not less than one year, in addition to a fine of not less than one hundred thousand pounds and not exceeding two million pounds, or the equivalent of the value of the rice subject of the crime, whichever is greater.
The decision indicated that the quantities of barley rice will be estimated according to the holdings, and as for the barley rice grown without fixed agricultural holdings, half of the quantities of rice will be supplied to the General Authority for Supply Commodities at the previously determined price.
As for white rice, it will be offered for sale under the supervision of the Directorate of Supply and Internal Trade, which is concerned with the contractual prices between the General Authority for Supply Commodities and approved speculators.
Last week, the Council of Ministers approved a draft decision considering rice as a strategic commodity and prohibiting its withholding from circulation, whether by concealing it, not offering it for sale, refraining from selling it, or in any other way.
The decision stipulated that violators be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than one year and a fine of no less than 100,000 pounds and no more than two million pounds, or the equivalent of the value of the goods, whichever is greater.
The draft decision excluded the luxurious, broad white rice with a fraction of not more than 3% from applying the decision to set the upper price limit at 16 pounds per kilogram, provided that it does not exceed 18 pounds.
And the Minister of Supply had issued a decision earlier stating that only the General Authority for Supply Commodities is competent to market the locally produced rice crop in the 2022 season, through the Mudarib Company of the Holding Company for Food Industries, the Holding Company for Silos and Storage, the Agricultural Bank of Egypt, and the parties that are It shall be approved by the Ministry in coordination with the National Food Safety Authority.
The decision prohibited the transportation of barley rice except with a permit approved by the Directorate of Supply and Internal Trade in each governorate, with the submission of evidence that the authorized person supplied the specified quantities to government stores (tons per acre).
The Ministry of Supply aims to receive 1.5 million tons of barley rice from farmers, provided that the supply season begins on August 25 and continues until December 15, or until the target quantity is completed, at a price of 6600 pounds for the thin grain and 6850 for the wide.
It is expected that the volume of production this season will reach about 7 million tons of barley, from the cultivation of 1.8 million feddans, an increase of 550 thousand feddans from last season, yielding 3.6 million tons of white rice, while the annual consumption volume is 3 million tons.