UAE to help Egypt build wheat silos to hold 1.5 mln tons

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The UAE will dedicate part of its $4.9 billion aid package to Egypt to build 25 wheat silos, each with a capacity of 60,000 tons, an Egyptian diplomat said on Sunday.

“The silos will have a total capacity of 1.5 million tons when complete,” said Shoeab Abdul Fattah, media attache at the Egyptian embassy in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE’s state news agency said late on Saturday that each silo would hold only 15,000 tons.

Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, usually buys about 10 million tons of the grain a year from international markets and uses a mixture of domestic and imported wheat for its subsidized bread program, which feeds millions of people.

It reduced imports in the past year as the government of former president Mohammed Mursi bet on a higher domestic crop.

Industry experts said, however, the policy has left the country at least 900,000 tons short of the wheat needed for its subsidy program.

Egypt is now targeting imports of 5 million to 5.5 million tons in the year to June 30, 2014. The country usually imports about half of the 18.8 million tons it consumes.

The government plans to issue a tender within the next two to four weeks to ensure supplies will last until end-March, the supplies minister said.

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