The Trade Ministry has banned rice exports beginning September 1.
According to a statement from Trade Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, the decision is aimed at meeting the needs of the local market. The country is expected to produce around 2.7 million tons of white rice during the 2015/16 planting season, while consumption is expected to reach 3.6 million tons. The 750,000-ton gap will be filled by surplus from the local 2014/15 crop, Abdel Nour said.
The ban will be in place for one year.
Egypt has banned rice exports several times, including a four-year ban that ended in 2012. The most recent ban was imposed beginning in November 2013, but the government allowed exports to resume in October 2014 after a bumper crop that yielded around 5 million tons of white rice.
Traders were allowed to export rice provided that for each ton of rice exported, they paid US$280 in tariffs and sold one ton of rice to the government at a discount price of LE2,000, a policy exporters complained was both cumbersome and expensive.
Previous rice export bans led to a market for smuggled medium-grain Egyptian rice across the Gulf, while the government was left to import lower-quality rice to supply its subsidy program.