November 24, 2009


Egypt turns to EU wheat following Black Sea bug damage issues



Egypt's reluctance to buy Russian and Ukrainian wheat due to bug damage is boosting European Union exports to the country, Goris van Lit, regional director at wheat marketing organization US Wheat Associates, said Monday (November 23).


Speaking at a crop quality seminar in London, van Lit said that France and the UK may benefit from Black Sea wheat bug damage issues.


Egypt's state wheat buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities has a 1 percent maximum limit on bug damage for imported wheat as bugs can lower the gluten content of the grain, damaging its bread-making qualities.


Van Lit said Russian wheat has on average 2.8 percent bug damage while Ukrainian wheat has an average of about 4.6 percent bug damage.


Egypt's GASC has already increased its purchases of French wheat on the year in the July 2009 to June 2010 marketing year.


However, the UK's Home Grown Cereals Authority said it was unlikely for Egypt to import UK wheat due to the moisture content of the grain being too high.


Moisture content of UK wheat exports is about 15 percent, while Egypt usually looks for moisture content of about 13 percent and to dry the wheat would be expensive, said David Eudall, analyst at HGCA.