Egypt - The Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE) has initiated the collection of locally produced wheat for the 2024 season, marking the start of the new agricultural year on 15 April. The bank is now accepting wheat from producers at over 190 designated storage locations nationwide, including processing plants, distribution hubs, and collection points, in line with the procurement rates and criteria set by the Ministry of Supply.

Alaa Farouk, the Chairperson of ABE, emphasized the bank’s commitment to a successful wheat procurement season and to streamlining the process for small-scale producers and vendors, as part of ABE’s strategy to boost the intake of domestically grown wheat.

The Ministry of Supply’s guidelines suggest that this season’s wheat intake is poised to surpass previous years, thanks to the state’s supportive policies and incentives aimed at wheat producers.

Farouk noted that ABE is tasked with collecting wheat on behalf of the General Authority for Supply Commodities and boasts the most extensive network of wheat storage facilities in rural and urban centres. He highlighted the expansion of storage sites to 190 this year, with a total capacity of approximately 800,000 tonnes for the season.

In support of wheat growers, Farouk announced an increase in the agricultural advance payment for wheat cultivation, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture. The advance, subject to a mere 5% interest rate, has been raised to EGP 18,000 per feddan for conventional irrigation methods, and EGP 21,500 for modern irrigation techniques. This measure aims to alleviate the financial burden of rising farming expenses and production demands, in alignment with national directives and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s vision.

Furthermore, Farouk unveiled a specialized operations centre dedicated to overseeing the wheat procurement season. ABE also participates in the central operations centre managed by the Ministry of Supply.

According to Farouk, the streamlined system allows for swift payment to suppliers, enabling them to receive funds in cash or deposited into their bank accounts within a day. The bank also offers complimentary account setup and bank cards, allowing suppliers to access their funds from any ATM.

Additionally, the bank provides flexible payment options for suppliers, ensuring full payment without any administrative fees or banking charges, under the state-sanctioned purchase rates and incentives.

ABE’s storage facilities are equipped to accept wheat in any quantity, regardless of size, encouraging individual farmers to deliver their produce directly to the bank, thereby benefiting from the stipulated pricing. The bank also accepts wheat in plastic bags at various collection points, with provisions for nearby truck scales to facilitate weighing, subject to verification by the storehouse secretary and relevant officials, thus conserving the time and effort of the producers and vendors.

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