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Egypt to spend $1.6 billion on local wheat purchases

cairo / reuters / Egypt’s government has allocated 11 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) to buy 4.5 million tonnes of wheat from local farmers this year, state media said March 24 as the most populous Arab country struggles to ensure supplies.

Economic turmoil and a weakening local currency has made it harder for the government to import wheat, a sensitive issue in the North African country as rising food prices have sparked unrest in the past.

Earlier this month, the cabinet said Egypt’s strategic stocks of wheat had fallen to 2.207 million tonnes, enough to last 89 days. This compares with 2.292 million tonnes reported in end-February.

Egypt needs to import half of its wheat needs to feed its population of 84 million people.

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