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Egypt local wheat buying tops 4 million metric tons

CAIRO - Egypt's agriculture ministry has bought 4.076 million metric tons of local wheat since the start of the season on April 15, it said on Wednesday.

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Agweek file photo.

CAIRO - Egypt's agriculture ministry has bought 4.076 million metric tons of local wheat since the start of the season on April 15, it said on Wednesday.

The world's largest wheat importer had said it planned to buy 4 million metric tons domestically in a local buying season which usually ends around July.

The agriculture ministry said in a statement the government was committed to receiving all the wheat from farmers who wish to sell until the season ends.

Supply Minister Khaled Hanafi later said the local wheat buying season would end mid-June this year.

The agriculture ministry has said the pace of procurement has accelerated since a decision by the government to open additional storage space.

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Farmers are being paid a fixed price of 420 Egyptian pounds ($47.30) per ardeb (150 kg) of wheat after Egypt abandoned plans to pay farmers global rates for their crop this year.

The higher fixed price, well above global market rates, is meant to encourage farmers to grow wheat but has led to smuggling involving the sale of cheaper imported wheat to the government falsely labelled as Egyptian.

Egypt's wheat harvest begins in April and runs through July. Last year, the government said it procured a record 5.3 million metric tons of the grain, up from 3.7 million the year before.

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