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Egypt Facing Food Security Concerns, FAO Report Says

“Civil unrest and dwindling foreign exchange reserves raise serious food security concerns in Egypt, the United Nations’ food agency said in a report on Thursday,” Reuters reports. Grain import requirements for 2013-2014 will remain the same as this year in Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, because of a growing population and despite a predicted good harvest, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in its Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, the news agency notes. However, the report “warned … that declining foreign exchange reserves may result in increased restrictions on transactions by Egypt’s Central Bank, thus curtailing the imports,” the news agency writes (Hornby, 7/11). “Two and a half years of political turmoil have caused a deep economic crisis in Egypt, scaring away investors and tourists, draining foreign currency reserves and making it difficult to maintain imports of food and fuel,” Reuters/Firstpost reports. “Earlier this week a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) attaché in Egypt said domestic wheat stocks would last through October at current consumption levels. It gave no estimate for when foreign wheat would run out,” the news agency notes (7/11).

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