U.S. reports predicted that Egypt would be a potential market of the Missouri rice, according to Brownfield Ag News.
The report cited the statements of Missouri Rice Council and U.S. Rice Producers, saying that Egypt is very interested in buying Missouri’s unmilled rice, to be milled at home.
“Egypt has a lot of rice mills,” head of emerging markets for the U.S. Rice Producers Association Greg Yielding told Brownfield news. “What’s happening is those rice mills will be idle. They won’t be working. They’ll just be sitting there. No rice to mill.”
Yielding and a Southeast Missouri State University professor reportedly visited Egypt In July, with a proposal to export rough rice to the country, with no details about who they met and what was whether a deal was made or not.
Southeast Missouri is a major producer of medium grain rice, which Egypt prefers, according to the report.
Yielding said that the rice could be shipped across Egypt and re-exported to countries in the Middle East.
After being a rice exporter, Egypt has turned into an importer following the governmental measures reducing the rice-cultivated areas due to the water shortage crisis the country is suffering from.
On May 21, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified the newly-passed amendments to the Agriculture Law No. 53 of 1966, per which the government will determine the areas to cultivate certain water-intensive crops such as rice and sugarcane, amid the water shortage crisis in order to rationalize water usage.
Also, Article 101 of the law stipulates that those who violate the ministerial decrees issued to implement Articles 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Agriculture Law shall be punished with a fine not less than LE 20,000 (about $1,119) and not more than LE 50,000.
On May 2, the Egyptian government agreed to increase the area allocated for rice cultivation by 100,000 feddans (one feddan equals 1.038 acres) for this season only, bringing the total area allocated for rice cultivation to 820,000 feddans, Abdel Latif Khaled, head of irrigation sector in the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources stated.
Thus, it is expected that Egypt will produce about 3.3 million tons this year as one feddan produces 4 tons, while the Egyptians’ annual consumption of rice is estimated at 4.3 million tons.
However, the cultivated areas will be shrunk in the coming seasons as a result of water scarcity, given that one feddan of rice consumes 7,000 cubic meters of water.
On July 9, Sisi approved to import rice and to start its marketing for the coming Year, besides putting good prices for the crop in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture. He also ordered to control the markets and activate the system of price control, and consumer protection measures, and work to eliminate the phenomenon of monopoly and commercial fraud.