reuters Egypt, the world s largest wheat importer, intends to double the amount of corn in subsidized bread because wheat is more expensive, Social Solidarity Minister Gouda Abdel Khaleq said Sept. 29.
We can produce corn at a lower cost so it ultimately means less cost in the production of bread, Abdel Khaleq said at a news conference.
Egypt consumes around 14 million tonnes of wheat annually and imports half of its needs.
A loaf of subsidized baladi bread, which weighs around 130 grams and costs five piasters (less than one U.S. cent), is currently made from a mix of 90 per cent wheat and 10 per cent corn.
We have an intention to raise the corn mixed in to 20 per cent, Abdel Khaleq said.
Traders said the strategy was tried before in the late 1990s but failed as it had a negative effect on the quality of bread.
It will be difficult to implement as the starch will make the quality of the bread go down and ultimately people will complain, one trader said.
But the minister insisted quality would not be affected.
If you can control the humidity levels then you can mix it successfully, Abdel Khaleq said.
He said the ministry also plans to build a rice stockpile equal to 50 per cent of its requirement for subsidized rice.