Egypt sets price for local cotton and corn crop

Egypt said on Tuesday it will pay 1,250 Egyptian pounds ($140.77) per qintar (160 kg) for its cotton, a small drop from the 1,300 offered last year, and 2,100 pounds per tonne for yellow corn.

Egypt predominantly grows a high-quality and extra-long staple cotton, once known as “white gold”, but output has been shrinking for years.

The agriculture ministry said the cabinet had approved a price of 1,250 pounds for the Giza 86 and Giza 87 varieties and 1,100 pounds for the Giza 90 and Giza 91 types produced in the 2016 season.

Last year the agriculture ministry briefly banned imports of cotton to boost local production but quickly reversed the decision.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that Egypt will produce 395,000 bales of cotton during the 2016-17 financial year that starts in July, up 23 percent from a year earlier due to government efforts to improve seed quality and increase the total area harvested.

Agriculture Minister Essam Fayed said in a statement that certain types of cotton would be banned during the current season in order to prevent mixing of different strands and to preserve the high quality Egypt is known for globally.

Egypt also aims to cultivate just over 2 million acres of yellow corn by 2018, and the 2,100 pound per tonne price is intended to encourage cultivation, increase local supplies of animal feed and decrease the country’s reliance on imports and save hard currency, Fayed said in a statement.