CCARDESA Study reveals opportunities for Wheat Production in Southern Africa
CCARDESA in collaboration with CIMMYT undertook a study on sustainable and competitive small holder wheat production and marketing in Southern Africa in order to address the wheat deficit in the region. The commissioning of the study forms part of CCARDESA’s mandate to support implementation of the CAADP pillar 1V.
Dr. Munyinda one of the consultants involved in the study, presented the study’s findings at the Regional Policy Dialogue which was held in Maputo, Mozambique from 20-22 November, 2018. The findings revealed a 72% deficit of wheat production which means that wheat consumption in the region is higher than its production in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries.
SSA countries are experiencing increased wheat consumption which has been attributed to increasing populations, changing diet preferences, rising incomes and urbanization among other things. This increase in the consumption of wheat has created a huge demand for the commodity, causing countries to use their limited foreign revenue to offset the huge demand through importation. This demand has called for African countries to explore various ways of addressing this challenge through exploiting the potential for local wheat production in countries with untapped wheat production potential.
This study which focused on Southern Africa also highlighted that the biophysical environment of some countries besides South Africa such as Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Lesotho, and Angola among others which have good potential to grow wheat because of their excellent weather conditions which are suitable for wheat production. The production of wheat in these countries can be done under both rain-fed conditions and under irrigation.
After the dissemination of this information at the Dialogue, the findings were received with excitement and mixed feelings. Dr. Baitsi Podisi, the Research and Advisory Services Thematic Coordinator of CCARDESA gave a summary of the plenary session where he mentioned the need to increase availability of seed varieties which are resistant to diseases and those that can withstand hot temperatures. He also indicated that wheat is an important strategic food crop that can be blended with other foods such as cassava, soya or sorghum to boost the nutritional value among other things thereby lowering the amount of imported wheat.
The study recommended setting up of wheat mills near wheat farming areas to minimise post-harvest losses. It also recommended use of modern technologies such as ICT to disseminate information about wheat production so as to make wheat production attractive to young farmers who form part of over 60% of the population in Africa. Another recommendation was to improve crop performance by regular monitoring using drones. Stay engaged with the CCARDESA website and we will update you when the study is published.
CCARDESA calls to action African countries to seize this wheat production deficit as an opportunity to venture in wheat growing. If this call is not headed, African countries will continue depleting their hard earned foreign revenue to import wheat thereby stretching their national treasuries.
For more information and comments, contact the following:
Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA)
Dr. Simon Mwale
The Acting Executive Director
Ground Floor, Red Brick Building,
Plot 4701 Station Exit Road
Private Bag 00357
+267 3914997 Ext 211