ByHeba Saleh in Cairo and Javier Blas in London
Published: August 11 2010 18:50 | Last updated: August 11 2010 18:50
Middle East and north African countries, the world’s biggest cereal importers, have moved quickly to replace supplies from Russia following the country’s grain export ban, and the region has so far escaped the panic of the 2007-08 food crisis.
Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan have all launched grain tenders this week to replace supplies from the Black Sea region of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. However, with stocks relatively high, officials in the region said they were not in a hurry to buy.
“Egypt has in stock enough wheat to produce subsidised bread for the upcoming four months,” said an official in the Egyptian trade ministry. “The policy to plan ahead to secure strategic commodities has worked.”
Middle East and north African countries buy almost a quarter of all the cereals traded globally. The provision of subsidised bread is a key strategy in the region for maintaining social peace.