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CAIRO: Egypt’s government has agreed to buy half a million tonnes of wheat from India, Egyptian Supply Minister Aly Moselhy told Reuters on Sunday.

Egypt, one of the world’s biggest wheat importers, is looking for alternatives to Black Sea grain exports which face disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both major wheat exporters to Egypt.

“We have agreed to buy half a million tonnes from India,” Moselhy said, speaking on the sidelines of a press conference.

New Delhi announced a ban on wheat exports on Saturday amid a scorching heat wave that has curtailed domestic production and driven up domestic prices.

However, Moselhy said during the press conference the Indian ban would not apply to the deal with Egypt.

He also said the Egyptian cabinet had given approval for government purchaser the General Authority for Supply Commodities to circumvent its tender process and purchase wheat directly from countries or companies.

India bans wheat exports as heatwave hurts crop, domestic prices soar

Egypt was also in talks with Kazakhstan, France, and Argentina, he said.

Egypt has four months’ worth of strategic at reserves and six months of vegetable oils, the country’s prime minister said earlier in the day.

Officials say that following procurement of the ongoing local harvest, Egyptian wheat reserves would be sufficient until the end of the year.

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