Egypt has agreed with Việt Nam to import one million tonnes of white rice for the next three to four months after curtailing cultivation earlier this year, head of the rice division of the Egyptian Federation of Industries Rajab Shehata said on Thursday.
According to the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Cairo, Rajab Shehata said that the visit of the President of Việt Nam to Egypt resulted in a trade co-operation agreement involving the supply of one million tonnes of white rice, with the agreement coming into force next week.
He said these quantities were in batches of three to four months, which would strengthen the strategic reserve of rice for the next year and the presence of domestic rice stocks in the markets.
The Ahram online newspaper reported that in an attempt to make the best use of water resources, Egypt this year reduced the area allowed for water-intensive rice cultivation and imposed tough new penalties on farmers who cultivate it illegally.
Traders said the policies would most likely push Egypt to import up to one million tonnes of rice next year after decades of surplus domestic production.
“Importation will be the responsibility of the government, not the private sector,” Shehata said.
He did not mention the price of Vietnamese rice but said it would be cheaper than the rice imported from China.
Egypt consumes about 3.3 million tonnes of rice annually, and still expects to cover most of that amount through the local harvest, which is usually done in August and September.