A street vendor sells bread at a street corner in central Cairo, Egypt May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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Egypt has launched a recount of its wheat silos after an unusually high procurement figure spurred widespread fraud allegations from top industry officials, traders and parliamentarians. Egypt said last week that in the latest procurement season it bought nearly 5 million tons of local wheat from its farmers, the second-highest figure on record and well above the 3-3.5 million tons per year farmers had delivered in the past decade. Wheat millers and traders told Reuters the high figure was a result of private suppliers misreporting their stocks to collect government payments for highly subsidized local wheat not actually in their silos. The agriculture minister has said wheat mixing cost the country more than 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($112.6 million) last year.This high price has for years encouraged local traders – who act as middlemen, buying wheat from scores of small-landholding farmers before selling it on to the government – to mix cheaper imported wheat into the subsidized local supplies.
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