Brexit Has U.K. Wheat Industry Wooing World’s Biggest Buyer

STAFFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 09: A combine harvester gathers wheat in fields at the start of harvesting on August 9, 2010 in Chebsey near Stafford, United Kingdom. Wheat prices have risen 25% in the last seven days due to drought and grass fires across much of Europe and beyond. Russia has banned the export of grain as it tries to preserve stocks. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)


Brexit is leading the U.K. wheat industry to make some new friends.

The European Union is currently the top destination for U.K. wheat, but with market access uncertain in the aftermath of Brexit, the nation is turning on the charm for Egypt, the world’s largest buyer.

A trade delegation will arrive in Cairo on Wednesday to showcase U.K. flour to millers and bakers from four private and three government-controlled Egyptian companies, which together control 70 to 80 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said in a statement.

The visit is aimed at demonstrating U.K. flour for baked goods that are in short supply in Egypt, it said.

“In a post-Brexit environment, the ability to be fleet of foot when export opportunities arise is key,” Phil Hadley, AHDB’s international market development director, said in the statement.

Egypt is “a significant opportunity for British agriculture, which typically produces a surplus of wheat and exports over 80 percent of this to the European Union,” AHDB said.

The North African country typically needs 11 million metric tons of wheat annually and hasn’t imported U.K. grain. About 70 percent of imports are from Russia and other Black Sea countries, and rest comes from France, Germany, Australia and U.S., AHDB said.

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