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Wheat availability in East Africa to be influenced by international trade dynamics: WFP

By Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — Wheat availability and prices in some East African countries are more likely to be influenced by international trade dynamics, the World Food Program (WFP) has warned. The WFP, in its latest publication on the impacts of the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in Eastern Africa issued Monday, said local wheat production remains below consumption needs across most countries in the Eastern Africa region, with in-country production ranging between 0 percent to 25 percent of the total annual consumption requirements. “Considering the high reliance on imports from the Black Sea to meet the 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 WFP warned. The WFP data showed that wheat consumption represents 67 percent and 38 percent of total cereal consumption in Djibouti and Sudan, respectively while in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia wheat consumption accounts for less than 24 percent of total cereal consumption. Djibouti and Somalia rely exclusively on imports to meet their domestic wheat demand, it said. A sizable portion of wheat demand in Kenya and Sudan is met by imports. Ethiopia is the only exception as domestic production in 2022 accounted for 82 percent of total wheat consumption needs, the WFP said. The WFP said Somalia and Sudan are largely dependent on imports from Russia and Ukraine to meet their domestic wheat demand. In 2022, Somalia imported 63 percent of wheat required from Ukraine. Sudan imports around 85 percent of its annual wheat requirements from Russia and Ukraine, which accounts for 50 percent and 20 percent of wheat imports, respectively. Since July 2022, almost 876,000 metric tons (MT) of food were shipped to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan thanks to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, of which more than 343,000 MT of wheat were shipped by the WFP, it said. It further said other factors including the El Nino event forecasted for the end of 2023 add uncertainties on production prospects and the stability of international wheat prices in the medium-to-long-term. Enditem

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