Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Give us our daily bread: for Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, Ukraine war is a disaster

Give us our daily bread: for Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, Ukraine war is a disaster

With Ukraine invaded by Russia, the developing world’s ‘breadbasket is being bombed’, the UN says. Ahead of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, the Cairo-based photojournalist Hamada Elrasam captured the hopes, fears and prayers of his fellow Egyptians, for two-thirds of whom state-subsidised bread is a lifeline

The stock exchange in Cairo. Egypt sources about 80% of its supply from Russia and Ukraine. The ripple effects of the war include food price inflation, higher interest rates and a devalued currency


Hassan says recent rises in the price of unsubsidised bread have stoked fears that the subsidised variety could be next


Friday prayers in Cairo’s Amr ibn al-As mosque, the oldest one in Africa. Ahead of Ramadan, and with the costs of basic commodities soaring, the imam spoke of ‘communal responsibility’, encouraging worshippers to take care of vulnerable neighbours


Ishaq’s bakery makes unsubsidised bread for working-class communities. He says the cost of a tonne of wheat has risen 30% since the war began, adding that he has cut the weight of a loaf by 10g to maintain his pre-inflation prices


Waleed, a butcher, says his profits have dropped by half in a few weeks. Customers are buying less to offset rising prices, especially of wheat, cooking oil and petrol


Yousef, left, who sells vegetables with his brother, Issa, says produce prices have risen after recent bad weather. He fears that if Russia uses nuclear weapons, it will further disrupt the world’s weather


Coptic Christian women eat bread with vegetarian dishes during their lunch break at a rug factory. The Copts fast and abstain from animal products to observe the 40 days of Lent before Easter


Hanya, a rug weaver and single mother of two, works from home as well to earn more. ‘My children are young and no one else can support us,’ she says


Karima, a media crew assistant and single mother of three, says: ‘My oldest daughter is a secondary school student, and now she is also working at a hair salon to help me feed her two younger siblings’


Coronavirus, the climate crisis and wheat price rises have imposed a heavy economic toll on vulnerable Egyptians – a third of them already live below the official poverty line of less than £40 a month





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