CAIRO - Egypt's strategic rice reserves are sufficient to meet its needs until December, Supply Minister Ali Moselhy told Reuters on Thursday.
Moselhy said that Egypt would not be importing rice after the upcoming local harvest as the crop, planted over more than 1.2 million feddans, is expected to cover demand. A feddan is roughly one acre.
Once a rice exporter, Egypt reduced its rice cultivation in an effort to conserve Nile river resources as Ethiopia builds a $4 billion dam upstream that Cairo fears could impact its water supply.
But the agriculture ministry said in March that it would grow about 1.1 million acres of rice in the 2019 season, up from 800,000 acres last year, in an effort to reduce the country’s import bill.
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, bought 40,000 tonnes of Chinese rice at its last purchase tender on May 30.
(Reporting by Momen Saeed Atallah; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Jane Merriman) ((Nadine.Awadalla@thomsonreuters.com;))