EGYPT - Wheat from a Troubled Field

Arno Froese

The biggest buyer of wheat in the world is Egypt, which will import over 13m tons of the grain this year. Odd, then, that the way it makes these purchases is so archaic. Every few weeks it summons traders to a ramshackle building in Cairo. Agents from the big firms that source, store and ship foodstuffs are told to bring an envelope with their best price inside. These are then opened and the prices revealed to all. That’s when the haggling begins. The tenders drag on for hours, but eventually Egypt announces a purchase so big that global wheat prices move in response.

Now, though, a potential disruption in commodity markets threatens this Egyptian staple. The vast majority of the wheat Egypt imports comes from Russia and Ukraine, which are lurching towards war.

Things will probably get worse. When Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, wheat prices spiked. Ukraine has since become a grains powerhouse. Last year its wheat sales grew by 28%, making it the fourth-largest exporter of the stuff. Russia comes first. Together they account for 30% of global wheat exports, twice their share in 2014. (Ukraine also sells maize, barley and cooking oil to the Middle East.), 3 February 2022

Arno's Commentary

During Joseph’s time in Egypt, we read the following in Genesis 41:56-57: “And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.” A better translation for “corn” should be “grain.” Maize (corn) was first discovered by Europeans in 1612 in Mexico, and there is no evidence of maize (corn) ever being grown in Biblical lands. 

As The Economist article indicates, to give bread to the people, Egypt needs to import grain, particularly wheat. Russia is one of the world’s largest wheat producers, at 85.9 million tons annually. Wikipedia lists the ten top wheat growers as: 

1.    China (134.3 million metric tons)
2.    India (98.5 million metric tons)
3.    Russia (85.9 million metric tons)
4.    United States (47.3 million metric tons)
5.    France (36.9 million metric tons)
6.    Australia (31.8 million metric tons)
7.    Canada (30 million metric tons)
8.    Pakistan (26.7 million metric tons)
9.    Ukraine (26.2 million metric tons)
10.  Germany (24.5 million metric tons)

One day there will be real peace in the Middle East. We read in Isaiah 19:24-25: “In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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