Africa Wheat Study Indicates Potential to Cut Import Dependency

African countries including Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda have soils and conditions suitable to boost wheat output and cut the continent’s import dependency, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center said.

Eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa each have at least 500,000 hectares (1.24 million acres) of land available for competitive and profitable wheat production without irrigation, according to a study by the center, known by its acronym Cimmyt.

Wheat consumption in Africa is climbing as diets change with growing urbanization, according to El Batan, Mexico-based Cimmyt. African countries are forecast to spend about $12 billion this year to import 40 million metric tons of wheat.

“We would like to alert the world that there is potential for wheat production in Africa,” Hans-Joachim Braun, director of Cimmyt’s global wheat program, said by telephone. “We would like to advise governments where to produce wheat.”

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