As per reliable sources, it has been reported that the Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy has blamed this year's rice shortage on cross-border smuggling with Egyptian rice merchants selling abroad in return for dollars. In this matter, during a meeting of the parliamentary economic affairs committee on Tuesday, Mr Hanafy informed that a huge amount of rice has been smuggled across the borders. However, the government allowed exports and we have legally exported 240,000 tons out of a total crop of three million tons. While, rest was smuggled across borders in return for dollars as it was disclosed by the Minister.
Further, according to the ministry that they are trying to control the situation by offering huge amounts of rice in the domestic market at the rate of LE4.5 per kilo, pumping 1,500 tons into the market daily. However, some information shows that the traders have smuggled rice to Libya and Sudan at US$800 per ton, as it was narrated .Further, in this context, it was also informed that the rice market has been unstable since October, while the government started exporting rice, causing a rise in local prices.
Furthermore, it was explained that the current market price for rice in Egypt ranges between LE6.5 and LE8.However, an increase is expected as the consumption doubles in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The minister also stated the annual subsidies for bread and other food supplies totals LE22, with the top priority of the system being an end to queues for bread at subsidized outlets.