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Egyptian farmers harvest their wheat amid a global food crisis

Egyptian farmers harvest wheat in Saqiyat al-Manqadi village in the northern Nile Delta province of Menoufia in Egypt, on May 1, 2019.   -  
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Egypt is in full wheat harvest season and farmers are actively collecting their crops. The Sharqia governorate in the north of the country is the largest province for the cultivation of the cereal with a total area of about 423,000 acres.

"Last year one acre yielded about 101 bushels of wheat, but this year an acre yielded about 112 bushels. so there is an improvement.", says Mohammed Hassen a farmer in Sharqia. But the local production covers only a fraction of the North African country's needs as it is the world's largest wheat importer.

Wheat is a key food item for the country where bread is an essential part of the diet. It has counted for about 35% to 39% of caloric intake per person in the last few years, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Out of the 100 million population, 30% live near or below the poverty line. The Egyptian government said in April it would try to save half the money it spends on wheat subsidies by issuing a new smart card system to ensure that the cheap bread goes to only the neediest.

For many years Egypt has mainly depended on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine. In 2021, Egypt imported around 80% of its wheat from these two war-torn countries. But the war between these two countries has drastically pushed up cereal prices and Egyptians have been facing a harsh inflation which reached 13 percent last April, according to the state statistics agency CAPMAS.

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