With a population of 103 million and an very high wheat import bill, Egypt has started producing bread from sweet potatoes to reduce wheat imports. This move is an attempt to mitigate effects of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The war has pushed wheat prices up in the international market, which threatens to widen the budget deficit and drain domestic finances.
Officials at the Ministry of Supply, which oversees the production of close to 200 million loaves of bread for over 80 million people in the national food rationing system every day, was handed a potential by the state-run Agricultural Research Center, where research about a sweet potato variety in bread has been gathering dust for over two decades.
The researcher says he has been trying to convince the government of the findings of his studies since 1993. "However, wheat was easy to obtain from the international market all those years," said Abdelmonem al-Gendi. Now, with the war in Ukraine threatening Egypt's food security, the government is listening.