Egypt will issue its first public tender for exporting 100,000 tonnes of rice in October and November, the ministry for industry and foreign trade said on Tuesday.
The government will invite private firms to bid for the right to sell and transfer the grain overseas.
Last week, Egypt lifted a four-year ban  on exporting locally grown rice after reporting a plentiful 2012 harvest. The specifications of the tender will be released on 10 October and available to both Egyptian and foreign exporters, the ministry said in a statement. The conditions have been designed to avoid a single exporter having a monopoly on Egyptian rice, the statement added. In March 2008, then-trade minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid imposed a blanket ban on Egyptian rice exports in hopes of shoring up waning rice supplies in the domestic market. The ban was extended by a year in September 2011 to pre-empt domestic supply shortages. Industry minister, Hatem Saleh, said last week that Egypt's total rice production stood at 4.6 million tonnes in 2011/12, up 7 per cent from the previous year. Annual rice consumption currently stands at 3.5 million tonnes, the minister said, leaving a surplus of roughly one million tonnes for export. Exporters would have to pay LE1,000 (roughly $164) per tonne in export fees, Saleh said at the time.