The World Food Programme (WFP) has cautioned that wheat supply and pricing in several East African nations are more likely to be impacted by international trade dynamics.
According to the World Food Programme’s latest publication on the effects of the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in Eastern Africa, which was released on Monday, local wheat production remains below consumption needs in most Eastern African countries, with in-country production ranging from 0% to 25% of total annual consumption requirements.
“Given the reliance on Black Sea imports to meet domestic wheat demand and weak domestic currencies, wheat availability and prices in Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan are more likely to be influenced by international trade dynamics,” the World Food Programme said.
Wheat consumption accounts for 67 percent and 38 percent of total cereal consumption in Djibouti and Sudan, respectively, whereas it accounts for less than 24 percent of total cereal consumption in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, according to WFP statistics.
According to the report, Djibouti and Somalia rely entirely on imports to cover their local wheat needs.
Imports supply a significant amount of Kenya’s and Sudan’s wheat needs. Ethiopia is the lone exception, with local production accounting for 82 percent of overall wheat consumption demands in 2022, according to the WFP.
According to the World Food Programme, Somalia and Sudan rely heavily on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine to supply domestic demand. In 2022, Somalia would import 63 percent of its wheat requirements from Ukraine. Sudan receives around 85% of its annual wheat requirements from Russia and Ukraine, which account for 50% and 20% of total wheat imports, respectively.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative has supplied about 876,000 metric tonnes (MT) of food to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan since July 2022, with the WFP shipping more than 343,000 MT of wheat.
Other factors, such as the El Nino event predicted for the end of 2023, it added, add uncertainty to output projections and the long-term stability of world wheat prices.