Africa accounts for only 4% of global wheat production

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Africa accounts for only 4% of global wheat production

  • The International Grains Council forecasts Africa’s 2018/19 wheat production at 27.4 million tonnes, up by 3 percent from the previous season due to expectations of a fairly good harvest in South Africa. While this is a welcome development, the continent remains a small player in the global wheat market accounting for roughly 4 percent of the expected 721 million tonnes in the 2018/19 season.
  • The leading wheat producing countries within the African continent are Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Algeria, South Africa and Tunisia, accounting for 31 percent, 26 percent, 16 percent, 11 percent, 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The remaining 5 percent is produced by other countries within the continent.
  • This, however, will not fulfil the continent’s annual wheat needs. Africa’s 2018/19 wheat imports are estimated at 52 million tonnes, roughly unchanged from the previous season. The North African countries are the largest importers as bread is one of the staple foods in a number of countries such as Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. These three countries collectively account for 47 percent of Africa’s wheat imports.
  • In the Sub-Saharan region, the largest wheat importers are Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia, which collectively account for 25 percent of Africa’s wheat imports in the 2018/19 season. The key supplies of wheat to the continent are largely the Black Sea countries, the US, and as well as the European Union countries.
  • On the domestic front, the International Grains Council forecasts South Africa’s 2018/19 wheat production at 1.7 million tonnes, which is 13 percent higher than the previous season’s harvest. This is on the back an expansion in area planted and expectations of better yields in some parts of the country.
  • This past weekend, the leading wheat producing province, Western Cape, received light and scattered showers which are a welcome development, albeit not being sufficient to replenish soil moisture. The weather forecast for the week shows prospects of continuous rainfall over most parts the province.

Click HERE to read the full report by Wandile Sihlobo