Egyptian government seizes 9000 tons of – sugar?

Egyptians fight to purchase government subsidized sugar in Cairo.  Picture courtesy of Reuters.

Ever since 2011, when a political crisis caused the president of Egypt to resign and a long period of unrest to start, Egypt’s economy has been on a downward slide. Many basic and essential items have disappeared from shelves, including prescription medicine, food, and sugar.

Which is where the Egyptian government’s raids and seizures of sugar come in. A lot of the sugar that Egyptians buy is imported from other countries, which doesn’t help with the shortage. But rather than importing more sugar in order to meet demand, the Egyptian government instead decided to raid civilian homes and businesses in order to redistribute the sugar at subsidized prices.

One of the businesses the government raided is that of Edita Food Industries, one of the largest snack and pastry manufacturers in Egypt. From one factory operated by Edita, officials took more than 2000 tons of sugar, inadvertently forcing the factory to shut down for a few days. Edita insisted that their sugar was legally obtained, and that they were being treated like crooks by the government.

“If the government has a problem, they should come and negotiate, but this way of seizing stocks and treating us as smugglers is shameful,” The chairman of Edita said.

The Egyptian Chamber of Commerce said that the government raids would only worsen the sugar shortage, because it would prevent businesses from expanding, and force companies to endure losses which could be bad enough to cause them to leave the market.


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