Ukraine could lose its export share to Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, as a result of the new wheat import requirements and rules that might favour their wheat export rival Russia, Maksym Martyniuk, Ukraine’s acting agriculture minister, told Reuters.
Earlier in March, the first deputy head of Ukraine’s State Consumer Protection Service, Vladimir Lapa, announced that in 2016, Ukraine exported more than 5.5m tonnes of wheat to Egypt, which marks more than 14% of the country’s total wheat exports, while UkrAgroConsult consultancy says that Ukraine exported 2.5m tonnes to Egypt in 2016/17.
Martyniuk claims that Egypt has raised the protein content requirement for wheat imported from Russia and Ukraine to 12.5% from 11.5% previously imposed.
On the other hand, Hamed Abd El-Azeem, spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture, told Daily News Egypt that the ministry didn’t announce any changes to the export requirements, saying that he wouldn’t comment on another country’s ministry of agriculture comments.
“We could generally tumble out of the Egyptian market because we have no such volumes and specifications that we could supply to Egypt,” he said in an interview in Kiev.
Moreover, Martyniuk claims that the Egyptian move could help Russian suppliers, adding that if that’s the case, Ukraine wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
Consequently, Martyniuk said that Ukraine would increase its wheat exports to the Asian markets to compensate for any losses in their export shares.
Ukraine wheat exports to Asian markets in 2016/17 accounted for about 6.6m tonnes, with Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Korea being the main importers. The Asian market share accounted for around 38% of the country’s total wheat exports.