Egypt talks wheat, live export

28 Aug, 2013 02:00 AM
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Jim Chown accepts a gift from Egyptian Ambassador to Australia Hassan El-laithy.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Jim Chown accepts a gift from Egyptian Ambassador to Australia Hassan El-laithy.

BREAD, freedom and social justice. That is the cry from the 40 plus million Egyptian protesters in the Middle Eastern country demanding change.

And as that change becomes a reality, Australian agriculture will be central to improving the needs of the country.

Egypt is looking at potentially increasing its wheat imports in the future as it focuses on better quality wheat for its 84m people while also preparing itself for a population forecast of 120m by 2050.

The country already grows about eight million tonnes of grain but imports about 6mt each year from Australia, Russia and the US.

Egyptian Ambassador to Australia Hassan El-laithy was in WA this week meeting with agriculture industry representatives including the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) and exporters discussing future opportunities.

The visit was classed as unofficial but all parties are hoping it may lead to more official meetings in the near future.

Mr El-laithy expressed Egypt's desire to have a secure supply of commodities.

"We have to use the effectiveness of Australia when it comes to its supply of wheat," Mr El-laithy said.

"I am impressed to see that 92 per cent of Australia's wheat production is for export, while in Egypt almost 50pc of our needs are imported.

"So you can see relevance here that we need to have a type of partnership between one credible supplier and one real importer."

While it was only early discussions between Egypt and WA, Mr El-laithy empahsised the importance of having a bilateral relationship with Australia and in particular WA.

And while wheat was the main focus of discussions, Mr El-laithy was asked about the latest on the live export front and when live cattle from Australia could or would resume flowing to Egypt following the issues earlier in the year with Hormone Growth Promotants (HGPs).

"I presume the Australian

Government and the Australian side in general is ready to accept the zero tolerance of the Egyptian side when it comes to the HGPs," he said.

When asked if the ball was now in Australia's court to get the trade up and running again, he said he was keen to see the trade operating.

He said he would like to see Australia and Egypt having a bilateral relationship on a number of commodities.

"In the near future we can see a resumption of exports to serve the interests of farmers in Australia and to secure part of the need in Egypt and live export is needed," he said.

"For an Egyptian Ambassador in Australia it is in my interests to have Australia as the main partner, so I have to promote Australia in Egypt and I know the Egyptian government would seek other suppliers as well.

"But for me it would be good for both sides and the bilateral relationship for exports from Australia increasing and to find joint projects to be done together when it comes to agriculture and farming together in joint ventures."

But with the current political uncertainty surrounding Egypt, questions are raised as to what the future will hold in terms of future internal stability, let alone international relations.

But Mr El-Laithy assured Egypt were still keen on building its trade relationships.

"You are always welcoming the guests but you are still fixing stuff at home," he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and member for Agricultural Region Jim Chown said for Egypt food security was still critical.

"This is really a precursor to future meetings," he said.

"What they are interested in is to see what is available in terms of wheat and meat (live exports and boxed) and education.

"Egypt imports 200,000t plus per annum of chilled meat and that is a pretty big tonnage.

"There is certainly opportunities for agriculture in the Middle East.

"It is important to have this relationship that has longevity in it, that has reliability in it and has trust in it between WA and Egypt."

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28/08/2013 4:51:54 PM, on Farm Weekly

NEVER, EVER AGAIN should a single Australian animal be sent to Egypt to their particular savage cruelty. Never forget gentle, innocent 'Jacob', with his broken leg, having his legs slashed and his eyes stabbed. No more chances - ever again.
28/08/2013 8:28:17 PM, on Queensland Country Life

Such a shame that Jacob never came from Australia’s sunny shores and that we have absolutely no say so about his fate. Just as they cannot insist that we pray to Mecca so we should leave them to their fate. So should we let our cows die in the paddock (as they currently are) or sell them to the Egyptians to save the hungry masses ?
29/08/2013 4:49:29 PM, on Farm Weekly

Fine sentiments but as the world's lowest priced grain market does Australia really want to see much of our crop to Egypt. I'd much rather supply markets than can pay me more!
29/08/2013 8:15:11 PM, on The Land

I wonder if the Egyptians could afford to buy some farms here, after all, you'd have to be a mug to pay Australian farmers if you can grow it yourself here, and ship it back to Egypt,seems to work for other countries and they could probably negotiate to bring in their own workers as well. Come on down mate, this is Australia and it's for sale!
john from tamworth
30/08/2013 12:40:38 PM, on The Land

Egypt 's foreign exchange reserves have fallen to about 3 months imports i.e.crisis level.The issue is not how to sell wheat to Egypt it is how to get paid.
Must Be Honest
31/08/2013 6:14:40 PM, on Queensland Country Life

This is just a group of bureaucrats trying to show they are working.


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