CAIRO - Egypt has lowered its wheat self-sufficiency target for the current fiscal year, even as it plans to increase its farmed area, a cabinet report showed on Wednesday, in line with plans to diversify agricultural exports.

The target of 51% self-sufficiency for one of the world's largest wheat importers for the fiscal year that ends in June 2025 is a slight increase on the previous year, but lower than the previously announced 65% target for 2025.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in May 2024 that Egypt did not need to grow more wheat, but could instead use the farmland to grow other exportable crops then spend the revenue to import wheat.

The Egyptian government buys wheat internationally and locally in order to offer tens of millions of Egyptians subsidized bread. Local wheat production currently meets 49% of demand, according to the cabinet report, up from 45% in 2020.

Egypt's economy has been suffering from a hard currency shortage that only eased when the United Arab Emirates signed a $35 billion deal in February for the right to develop a stretch of Mediterranean coast and other projects. That was followed by an expanded $8 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund and other international financing.

The cabinet report also showed that Egypt aims to produce enough local wheat to meet 56% of its demand by 2030, from a total farmed area of 12 million feddans (12.5 million acres).

Meanwhile, the government intends to bring its self-sufficiency in corn to 67% by 2030 from the current 46%.

(Reporting by Mohamed Ezz Editing by Aidan Lewis and Mark Potter)