The Head of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Clearinghouse, Dr. Solomon Gizaw, has raised concerns over Africa’s heavy dependence on wheat imports, revealing that the continent collectively spends an estimated $20 billion annually on importing wheat. Dr. Gizaw made this revelation during a Train-the-Trainer workshop on wheat seed production held in Kano.
Attributing the surge in wheat prices and supply disruptions to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis, Dr. Gizaw emphasized the significant financial burden this places on African nations. He stressed that Nigeria, in particular, has the potential to cultivate wheat domestically, thereby ensuring not only its own food security but also contributing to the supply of neighboring African countries.
“The fight between Russia and Ukraine impacted the whole of Africa,” stated Dr. Gizaw, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of the conflict. “As a continent, we don’t have food security as our food security is in the hands of others,” he added, underscoring Africa’s vulnerability to external factors.
Dr. Gizaw further explained that the disruption in wheat and fertilizer supply resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war has led to an increase in wheat prices across African nations. Despite these challenges, he expressed confidence that Nigeria could attain self-sufficiency in wheat production if the current momentum is sustained.
In a related development, recent reports by Ratecaptain revealed that Nigeria expended approximately N970 billion on wheat imports between October 2022 and September 2023. During the period from January to September 2023 alone, Nigeria’s wheat imports totaled N783.26 billion, representing a notable increase compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
Wheat flour, a primary raw material in the production of bread, pasta, noodles, and other staple foods in Nigeria, has experienced price hikes due to the disruption in global supply chains caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The conflict has triggered a surge in wheat prices on the global market, contributing to the rising costs of essential food items in Nigeria.