CAIRO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Egypt expects to produce about 2.4 million tonnes of sugar in the coming season, which is set to begin next month, state news MENA reported on Sunday.
Sugar has become scarce in recent months and the government took control of stocks to counter what it said was an epidemic of hoarding by merchants reacting to rising prices amid a shortage of foreign currency.
Chairing the first meeting of the country's newly formed sugar council, Supply Minister Mohamed Ali Meselhy said he expected 1.1 million tonnes of sugar cane and 1.3 million tonnes of sugar beet to be produced by farmers this year, MENA said.
Meselhy said he expects Egypt to import between 800 thousand and 1 million tonnes of additional sugar to cover the remaining local demand.
Egypt consumes about 3 million tonnes of sugar per year, with a mix of private and public sector imports making up for its production shortfall. (Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Greg Mahlich)