Egypt rejects Greek cotton shipment at Alexandria

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's agricultural quarantine authority said on Monday 25 May it had rejected a shipment of 740 tonnes of ginned Greek cotton at Alexandria port because it contained cotton seeds.



"The shipment was rejected because we found intact cotton seeds in it and we don't want those to mix with Egyptian cotton seed varieties in order to safeguard their quality," Ali Soliman, head of the Central Administration for Agricultural Quarantine, told Reuters.

Ginned cotton is cotton that has been processed to remove cotton seeds.

The shipment was imported by textile company Arab Polvara, and the company has been given the choice of exporting the shipment to another country or destroying it, according to Soliman.

Egypt was forecast to have a 17 percent drop in its cotton production in the 2009/10 season, which starts in August, as farmers turn to more lucrative crops such as rice and corn, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service.

Its exports for 2008/09 were expected to drop to 100,000 bales, from 619,000 bales the previous year as a result of the global financial crisis and the recession affecting the textile industry, the report said. A bale weighs 480 lb (218 kg).

The report forecast Egyptian cotton imports during the 2008/09 season to increase 8 percent to 420,000 bales, with 52 percent of total cotton imports coming from Greece.

Egypt imports around 60 percent of its total cotton requirements, or around 560,000 bales, mainly from Greece and Sudan due to their attractive prices compared to highly priced local cotton.

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