Egypt’s soyabean imports are forecast to rise 14% in 2019/20 compared to 2018/19 as a result of its local crushing capacity increasing, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report on 4 April.

The GAIN report forecast that Egyptian soyabean imports would reach 4M tonnes in 2019/20 compared to 3.5M tonnes in 2018/19, with most imports coming from the USA.

According to the USDA, 3M tonnes of the 3.43M tonnes of soyabeans Egypt imported last year came from the USA.

“US origin soyabean exports to Egypt have risen to record levels since the onset of the US-China trade tensions and China’s retaliatory tariffs on US soyabeans,” World Grain quoted the USDA as saying.

“With Brazil-origin soyabeans commanding a premium, combined with drought-induced tight supplies in Argentina, Egyptian traders and crushers are turning to the highly affordable US soyabeans.”

The USDA forecast that Egypt’s soyabean meal production in 2019/20 would reach 3M tonnes, up 11% compared to the 2018/19 estimate, World Grain reported.

“We attribute the increase in soyabean meal production to expanded local crush capacity, seeking to meet the expanding demand of the local feed industry, as well as that of the refining sector aiming to produce high quality blended oil for human consumption,” the USDA said.

In July 2018, agribusiness giants Archer Daniel Midlands (ADM) and Cargill launched their Egyptian SoyVen joint venture in response to the rising demand for soyabean oil and meal in the country. The deal, which established SoyVen as the owner and operator of the National Vegetable Oil Co soya crush facility in Borg Al-Arad, doubled the plant’s crush capacity to reduce Egypt’s reliance on imports.