Egypt’s rejection of several shipments of wheat after readopting zero ergot tolerance has “no major impact” on Russian wheat exports, the Russian agriculture ministry said on Wednesday according to Interfax news outlet.
Egypt’s agriculture minister reinstated the zero ergot policy late August, thereby reversing an earlier decree that had allowed for 0.05 per cent, a common international standard, of the fungus in imports.
Ergot, a common grains fungus that can cause hallucinations when consumed in large amounts, is considered harmless in low quantities based on international standards.
Russia said this week that it hopes to hold talks with Egypt, its top buyer, over Cairo’s failure to approve Russian wheat shipments since the reintroduction of the zero ergot policy.
Egypt has not issued approvals for Russian wheat shipments since Cairo adopted the latest import policy.
Traders met the zero ergot policy in wheat imports with disappointment.
The effects of the policy became evident on Aug. 31 when Egypt’s state wheat import purchasing agency GASC was forced to cancel a tender after a near complete boycott by suppliers.
Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, bought around a quarter of Moscow’s total wheat exports in fiscal year 2015/ 2016, according to Reuters.