print logo

African Business Review: The story behind Russia and Egypt's agricultural standoff

ergot, unsafe product and many other recent issues govern this strained relation.
20.09.16 | Interesting article at African Business Review

Egypt’s agriculture ministry has created a committee in order to resolve tensions with Russia over agricultural commodities. On Sunday, the ministry announced that it will send a technical delegation to Russia at the end of September. The team aim to discuss the Russia’s temporary ban on the import of Egyptian crops.

So Egypt is experiencing a complex agricultural standoff, but how did the situation come to be? Here’s a brief overview:

The basics: Egypt is Russia’s biggest buyer of wheat. Russia is a top export market for Egyptian fruits. According to an official Egyptian report, Egypt has imported 2,152,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia in the first half of 2016.
Recently, Egypt changed its import regulations to state that the country would no longer accept any amount of ergot (a toxic fungus) in its imported wheat. As Egypt's number one wheat supplier, this decision will hurt Russia. Previously, Egypt accepted imported wheat with a maximum of 0.05 percent ergot fungus.
Egyptian inspectors rejected a 60k tonne cargo of Russian wheat in Novorossiisk .
In response, Russian state agricultural safety agency Rosselkhoznadzor announced the imports of Egyptian agricultural products would be banned until Egyptian authorities take steps to ensure their safety.
On Friday, Russia said it would temporarily suspend imports of fruit and vegetables from Egypt starting from 22 September.
On Saturday night, Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil met with Russian ambassador Cairo to discuss sending a committee over to Russia.
"It is important to find an urgent solution... as the new export season will start in November, especially for citrus, which reached 400,000 tonnes in the previous season," Kabil said in his statement.