ADDIS ABABA – International trade dynamics are anticipated to impact wheat availability and pricing in several East African nations, according to the World Food Program (WFP).
In a recent report detailing the ramifications of the Black Sea Grain Initiative's suspension in Eastern Africa, the WFP highlighted that the region's local wheat production is still below consumption demands. Within the region, domestic wheat production fulfills only between 0 percent to 25 percent of annual consumption necessities.
Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan, which have a significant dependence on wheat imports from the Black Sea region and confront challenges with weaker domestic currencies, are particularly vulnerable to global trade shifts, the WFP indicated.
According to WFP data, Djibouti's and Sudan's wheat consumption stands at 67 percent and 38 percent of their total cereal consumption, respectively. Conversely, wheat consumption in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia is below 24 percent. The complete wheat demands of Djibouti and Somalia are met through imports. Kenya and Sudan also rely heavily on imports for their wheat needs, with Ethiopia being a notable exception, where local production in 2022 covered 82 percent of wheat consumption requirements.
Both Somalia and Sudan predominantly depend on imports from Russia and Ukraine for their wheat supply. In 2022, Somalia sourced 63 percent of its required wheat from Ukraine, while Sudan procured approximately 85 percent of its yearly wheat needs from both countries. Specifically, Russia contributed 50 percent, and Ukraine 20 percent, to Sudan's wheat imports.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative facilitated the shipment of nearly 876,000 metric tons (MT) of food to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan since July 2022. Out of this, the WFP accounted for over 343,000 MT of wheat.
The WFP also emphasized that other variables, such as the projected El Nino event for late 2023, introduce further unpredictability in wheat production outlooks and global wheat pricing for the foreseeable future.