CAIRO, (The Southern African Times) – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated on Tuesday the Silo Foods, a mega food industries complex in Sadat City of Monufia Province, which is expected to provide school meals for about 13 million students nationwide.
“Covering a total area of 567,000 square meters, Silo Foods is the largest complex of its kind in the Arab region,” Taymour Moussa, board director of the project, told Xinhua on the sideline of the inauguration ceremony.
The complex consists of 10 factories that produce 40 different kinds of goods, he said, adding the first phase of the project will include a farm with 14 silos that can store up to 70,000 tons of wheat, the basic material for the food industry in the complex, which is sufficient for running all the factories for three months.
“Silo Foods is a real addition to the state’s ability to achieve self-food sufficiency,” said Minister of Supply Ali Moselhi.
The project will contribute to securing an abundance of food in the market and eventually decrease pressure on prices, in addition to strengthening investments and exports, Moselhi noted.
“The project will represent an integrated industrial model in supply chain starting from cultivating wheat, and storing it before it is used in the processed food without human intervention,” he added.
Moselhi said the state aims to increase the storage capacity of wheat to 5 million tons from 3.4 million tons in 2020.
The first phase of the project will include pasta and noodles factories with an annual production of 151,000 tons of 11 types of goods, and another factory for bread products that will meet the needs of the markets across Egypt, according to the minsiter.
The industrial food city will also include factories for printing, making cartoons, recycling garbage, besides other services such as administrative and hotel buildings.
Walid Aboul-Magd, the director-general of the National Service Projects Authority, said the project has been established in line with the international criteria.
He noted that four factories for dairy and cheese products will be opened in the second phase of the project.
The project will promote the national economy by meeting the market demands, providing thousands of job opportunities, and localizing modern technologies, Aboul-Magd said.
In his remarks after the inauguration of the project, Sisi said the food industrial city basically aims at providing meals for school students to overcome their health problems and create new strong generations.
“The government seeks to strike a balance in prices amid the spread of COVID-19 and the high temperature that has impacted the agricultural season and the food industry sector,” the president said, noting the main objective of Silo Foods is to develop the factories and produce integrated food products that can achieve the balance of costs in certain circumstances.
Sisi said the allocations for each ministry in the general budget will also be cut to cover the cost of children’s meals.
“We want to secure the 8 billion Egyptian pounds (510 million U.S. dollars) required to feed students,” the president noted.
On the other hand, Minister of Education Tarek Shawki explained that school meals of a student cost the country 644 Egyptian pounds (41 U.S. dollars) per year on average.
Physical exams of 25 million students have shown that 3.4 million students suffer from obesity, 8.2 million suffer from anemia, and 1.3 million dwarfism, he said.
“Healthy food is a priority now,” the Egyptian minister stressed.