Egypt has contracted to import one million tonnes of Vietnamese rice

Egypt, traditionally a rice exporter, has contracted to purchase one million tonnes of Vietnamese rice, an official in the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) said on Thursday.

Vietnam is to provide Egypt with one million tonnes of rice between three and four months, an official in the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) said on Thursday.

“Egypt has agreed to receive the quantities within three to four months, and this would in turn boost its strategic rice reserves to last for one year,” Ragab Shehata, head of Rice Division at the FEI, told Amwal Al Ghad.

The deal is part of Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang’s recent visit to Egypt, where he met with Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattal al-Sisi along with a number of ministers and officials to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

In a bid to conserve scarce water resources, Egypt earlier this year reduced the total area permitted for cultivation of rice, a water-intensive crop, to just 724,000 feddans (750,000 acres), a sharp drop from the officially allotted 1.1 million feddans last year and the 1.8 million feddans grains traders believe were actually grown. It has imposed harsh new penalties on farmers who illegally plant.

Traders said the policies would likely prompt Egypt to import up to 1 million tonnes of rice next year after decades of growing a surplus and being an exporter of a medium grain variety prized in Arab markets.

Egypt’s consumption is around 3.3 million tonnes of rice, the majority of which it still expects to meet through its own crop, which is typically harvested in August and September.