Purchase prices need more encouragement due to higher costs
Farmers demand 1,000 pounds for an ardeb of wheat next season
Workers in the food industry sector said that the expansion of wheat cultivation locally is one of the most important factors in reducing the costs of manufacturing products based on it, in addition to changing the culture of bread consumption, as large quantities of it do not go to those who deserve it.
Walid Diab, a member of the Chamber of Grain Industry in the Federation of Food Industries, said that local wheat can serve the pasta industry well as a substitute for imported wheat, and it can be included in other products by 20% and the other percentage is imported.
Diab explained that the expansion of the areas planted with local wheat is a good step at the level of agriculture and manufacturing, but we really need to clarify the actual production, whose data differs between the institutions responsible for statistics in Egypt.
Tarek Sami, director of export at Regina Company, added that the state’s concerted efforts towards directing investment to wheat cultivation to provide a large part of the market’s needs and reduce the gap between local production and consumption will certainly benefit the industry.
Farmers demanded an increase in wheat prices for the new season in light of the high cost, provided that the announcement of supply prices should be before the start of planting to motivate farmers to expand the areas.
Farid Wasel, head of the Farmers and Agricultural Producers Syndicate, demanded that wheat supply prices be announced for the new season before planting, and this was followed for many years before 2017.
1000 pounds for an ardeb of wheat, a fair price
Wasel said that setting the price of importing the crop at 1,000 pounds per ardeb (a weight of 150 kilos) and a fair price in light of the recent inflation of planting costs.
Last season, farmers demanded a price of 900 pounds per ardeb, but the government did not raise the price more than 25 pounds, to 725 pounds.
Wasel explained that the state is moving towards contract farming and announcing prices early is one of the mechanisms for implementing this approach to provide market needs, protect farmers, and ensure good marketing of their products after harvest.
He pointed out that the profitability of an acre of rented wheat does not exceed 5,000 pounds, in approximately 6 months of cultivation, which is a very weak return in return for the service that the farmer provides to the country, especially since most of the lands are rented and their owners do not cultivate in them.
He continued: “The farmer’s continued cultivation of wheat, despite the low return, stems from his desire to provide for his family’s needs throughout the year, and to sell the surplus quantities above the need.”
Also, wheat cultivation is not water consuming.. Therefore, farmers should be encouraged to expand their land to bridge the gap between production and consumption.
Wasel stressed the importance of activating the role of agricultural extension in raising farmers’ awareness of high-productivity seeds, mechanisms of reducing production costs and increasing returns, and dealing with each region separately in light of climate change between governorates.
According to official data, Egypt consumes more than 18 million tons of wheat annually, of which it produces about 8.5 million tons locally, and imports the remaining quantities.
How much does Egypt produce wheat?
Wasel said that the Ministries of Agriculture and Supply announce a productivity of more than 8.5 million tons of local wheat annually, and these numbers are exaggerated, as supplies do not collect more than 3.5 million tons, and it is impossible for farmers to store 5 million tons annually.
The same opinion was confirmed by Walid Diab, Vice President of the Mills Division 72% of the Grain Chamber, who estimated the local production at 6 million tons at most.
What do farmers see?
Sorour Abdel Jalil, a farmer from the Kafr El Dawar Center in Beheira Governorate, said that wheat cultivation has become expensive in light of various increases in the costs of the production stages, fertilizers and agricultural equipment used in harvesting, as well as pesticides.
He explained that the yield per acre provides about 1,200 pounds as a return in 6 months, which is the duration of the agricultural season, and the majority of farmers resort to growing wheat to provide their families’ needs of flour throughout the year.
He added, “Farmers are keen to diversify their crops between wheat, alfalfa and artichokes during the winter, as artichoke provides liquidity to farmers during this period.”
Mohamed Mahmoud Mazar added, “Farmers must be provided with incentives to encourage them to grow wheat, the first of which is to raise wheat supply prices and announce them before the start of the season.”
He stressed the importance of benefiting from agricultural guidance in directing farmers to the correct farming mechanisms and genetically modified seeds with high productivity, instead of farmers relying on expertise.
Experts: 30 ardabas per acre
Mohamed Youssef, Professor of Biodynamic Agriculture at the Faculty of Agriculture, Zagazig University, said that helping farms increase the productivity of the feddan is the biggest incentive that will encourage them to expand production.
Youssef stressed the importance of developing new, high-yield varieties of up to 30 ardabas for local varieties, compared to 18 ardabas at present, by relying on local research centers and directing farmers to these varieties.
He explained that the new genetically modified varieties will solve the problems of agriculture in light of climatic changes, while raising farmers’ awareness of good practices to reduce waste and establishing industries close to production centers to increase returns.
The article: Wheat.. Expansion in agriculture is the most prominent factor in reducing production costs. It was written in Al Borsa newspaper.