African countries collectively spend approximately $20 billion each year on wheat imports. This is according to Dr. Solomon Gizaw, the Head of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Clearinghouse.
He said this during a Train-the-Trainer workshop on wheat seed production in Kano.
Dr. Gizaw said the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia has resulted in supply disruptions and a surge in wheat prices across Africa, imposing significant financial burdens on the continent.
“The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has impacted the entirety of Africa.
Africans, being the major importers of wheat across the continent, have experienced a lot of supply disruption due to the fight between these two countries located in Europe,” said Gizaw.
Food Insecurity Concerns
The situation underscores the lack of food security in Africa, as the continent’s food security is dependent on others.
“Annually, Africa spends nearly $20 billion to import wheat from other parts of the world. They import both fertilizer and wheat from Ukraine and Russia, and as a result, the war between the two has disrupted the supply of wheat and fertilizer,” he added.
He said Nigeria has the potential to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production and that it has the necessary resources to cultivate wheat domestically and supply neighboring African nations.
Nigeria spent around $692 million on wheat imports between October 2022 and September 2023.
From January to September 2023, Nigeria’s wheat imports amounted to $59.4 million, marking an increase of $20.4 million compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
Wheat flour is a primary raw material in the production of bread, pasta, noodles, and other essential Nigerian food items.
The prices of these products have recently surged due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which disrupted global supply chains and caused a spike in the commodity’s price on the global market.