• Go with the grain

    Go with the grain

    There are no two ways about it – the bottom line from agricultural experts is that Africa needs more wheat farmers.

    Continent-wide, maize is favoured over wheat, with sub-Saharan Africa countries producing just 10% to 25% of their potential wheat capacity. Yet nearly US$15 billion is spent annually on importing the grain to meet domestic demand. While there is potential to easily expand production in the continent’s highland areas, only a few nations (including Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa) have established wheat farming, according to an AFKInsider report.

    In April, agricultural experts from eight African countries met in Zimbabwe to discuss how to change perceptions. ‘Increasing wheat production is an urgent endeavour and we cannot leave it for a later time,’ says Ringson Chitsiko, secretary of the Zimbabwean Department of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.

    He adds that it would help reduce the import bill and that the money saved could be put to much better use, citing infrastructural development as an example.

    10 May 2016
    Image: Gallo/GettyImages