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CAIRO: Egypt is in talks with Argentina, India, France and the United States for future wheat imports, but is in no rush to buy at the moment, the supply minister said on Thursday.

Egypt is looking for alternatives to Black Sea grain exports, which have been jeopardized by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine accounted for 80% of Egypt’s wheat imports last year.

“There’s no need for tenders right now but we are planning for the entire year so we are open to all possibilities and preparing backup plans,” Ali Moselhy said, adding that Egypt could start tendering again mid-harvest, which typically starts in April and ends in July or August.

The minister said that the government had already held talks with the United States and France and will meet with Argentinean representatives next week.

The United States, France and Argentina are three of 16 import origins that are accredited by Egypt’s state grains buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), while Indian suppliers would still have to seek accreditation.

Egypt will begin offering flour to private sector mills at 8,600 Egyptian pounds ($471.23) per tonne as of Saturday, the minister added, after the government set a fixed price for unsubsidised bread earlier this week.

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