265 tons of rice seized before being sold in black market

11 Oct 2018

Cairo: The inspection campaigns, launched by the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade in six governorates, seized 264.848 tons of rice hidden by vendors to be released in the black market in a breach to decree no. 189/2018.

The campaigns took place in Beheira, Kafr El-Sheikh, Sharkeya, Gharbeya, Damietta and Daqahleya to ensure that wholesalers and retailers are abiding by the ministry’s regulatory decrees. Culprits have been referred to the public prosecution.

The articles of the decree issued in September are as follows:

1) Farmers and producers must supply and sell local barley rice to licensed entities.
2) Only licensed public and private firms are allowed to trade in or stock local barley rice.
3) Suppliers, wholesalers, and any entities involved in rice trade and marketing are allowed to only deal with licensed firms for buying, selling, packaging, stocking, and trading.
4) Farmers, producers, suppliers, firms, wholesalers, factories, and others are prohibited from stocking rice for the purpose of supply reduction and market manipulation, not following trade norms.

On June 5, the government announced its plan to import rice (paddy, mulled and cargo rice), in a way to reduce the rice-cultivated areas due to the water shortage crisis the country is suffering from.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified on May 21, 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 Egypt's 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.

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