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Scientists Develop GM Wheat with Resistance to Salinity & Water Scarcity

Egypt prohibits the importation and planting of GMO seeds but allows imports of GM-produced soybeans and maize approved by the country of origin, particularly the United States.

Shivam Dwivedi
GM Wheat Samples in Lab
GM Wheat Samples in Lab

Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) has announced that agricultural research scientists at the authority's site in Inshas city, Bilbeis, Sharqia Governorate, have begun harvesting a new strain of genetically modified (GM) wheat.

According to the authority, the strain has high productivity with distinct characteristics such as resistance to cultivation in saline lands and water scarcity.

According to the statement, the rate of production exceeds 4 tonnes per acre, representing a nearly one-ton increase over currently cultivated Egyptian varieties. The cultivation of this variety takes only 140 days.

According to Dr. Amr El-Hajj, the EAEA's Director-General, cultivation of this strain could increase Egypt's local wheat production by 33%, reducing the need for imported wheat.

In early April, Hesham El Hossary, the Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, stated that the Coronavirus pandemic and the political international situation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict had prompted the state to consider planting GM products.

Egypt prohibits the importation and planting of GMO seeds but allows imports of GM-produced soybeans and maize approved by the country of origin, particularly the United States. The country is currently experiencing a wheat supply crisis as a result of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, as the two countries are Egypt's largest wheat importers.

According to a new study conducted by the Egyptian Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center, the government is working to increase the area of wheat crops by 1.5 million feddans over the next three years (IDSC).

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi made an inspection tour of Toshka agricultural lands in Upper Egypt's Aswan's South Valley on April 21, 2020, to witness the start of the wheat harvest season. He then approved the opening of some wheat silos in several governorates via video and watched a documentary on Egypt's achievements in securing the wheat needed for local consumption.

Egypt requires approximately 18 million tonnes of wheat per year, with local productivity of 10 million tonnes of wheat. As a result, the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict has had a significant impact on it, as it receives 80 percent of its exported wheat from both conflicting countries.

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