Ripple Effect

Egypt: Wheat prices soar as Russia-Ukraine war rages, will this be Cairo’s breaking point?

By Sherif Tarek

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on March 8, 2022 13:09

A baker collects loaves in El-Kalubia governorate, northeast of Cairo
A baker collects loaves in El-Kalubia governorate, northeast of Cairo, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt, the largest wheat importer on the globe, is not expected to suffer shortages until late 2022, yet it is already bearing the brunt of shooting prices brought on by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Abou Mohamed, an Egyptian doorkeeper who lives with his wife, is unable to get enough bread through his ration card. It only enables him to secure five subsidised loaves each.

He says this quota used to be sufficient when they were able to cook pasta or vegetables stuffed with rice. However, like Mohamed, many poor Egyptians eat bread as a filling carbohydrate-rich food because of its affordability.

[…] increase in prices was one of the important triggers of the Arab Spring.

Mohamed, who lives in the slum-ridden district of Beaulac in Giza, says there had been rumours that prices of both subsidised and unsubsidised bread were about to increase. True to form, the unregulated prices of bread went up by 50% on average last weekend, as a result of the wheat meltdown induced by the Russia-Ukraine war.

“Those who have three and four kids, what [can] they do?” Mohamed says, adding that he is b

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime