Biggest Wheat Importers, 7 Biggest Wheat Importers

Biggest Wheat Importers, 7 Biggest Wheat Importers

7 Biggest Wheat Importers in the World and Why They Need It

Wheat is one of the most important staple crops in the world, providing food, feed, and industrial raw materials for millions of people. However, not all countries produce enough wheat to meet their domestic demand, and some rely heavily on imports from other countries. In this article, we will look at the 7 biggest wheat importers in the world and why they need it.

1. Egypt

Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, buying about 12 million metric tons (MT) of wheat in 2022, according to the World’s Top Exports website. Wheat is essential for making bread, which is the main source of calories for most Egyptians. The country has a large and growing population of over 100 million people, but its arid climate and limited water resources limit its agricultural potential. Egypt produces only about 8.5 million MT of wheat per year, leaving a gap of 3.5 million MT that needs to be filled by imports.

Egypt mainly imports wheat from Russia and Ukraine, which together account for more than 70% of its imported wheat supply. These two countries are close geographically and offer competitive prices and quality. However, the recent tensions between Russia and Ukraine over the border dispute in eastern Ukraine have raised concerns about the stability of Egypt’s wheat supply chain. Egypt has been diversifying its sources of wheat imports, buying more from countries like France, Romania, Argentina, and Australia.


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2. Nigeria

Nigeria is the second-largest wheat importer in the world, purchasing about 6 million MT of wheat in 2022, according to the World’s Top Exports website. Wheat is mainly used for making flour, pasta, noodles, biscuits, and bread in Nigeria. The country has a huge and rapidly growing population of over 200 million people, but its domestic wheat production is very low, at only about 60,000 MT per year. This is due to several factors, such as low yields, pests and diseases, poor infrastructure, lack of inputs and credit, and competition from other crops.

Nigeria imports most of its wheat from the United States, which accounts for about 60% of its imported wheat volume. The US offers high-quality hard red winter wheat that is suitable for Nigerian consumers’ preferences. Nigeria also imports wheat from Canada, Russia, Argentina, and Brazil.

3. Indonesia

Indonesia is the third-largest wheat importer in the world, buying about 11 million MT of wheat in 2022, according to the World’s Top Exports website. Wheat is mainly used for making flour, which is then used for making noodles, bread, cakes, cookies, and snacks in Indonesia. The country has a large and diverse population of over 270 million people, with different dietary habits and preferences. Indonesia produces very little wheat domestically, at only about 20,000 MT per year. This is because wheat is not well adapted to Indonesia’s tropical climate and faces competition from rice and other crops.

Indonesia imports most of its wheat from Australia, which accounts for about 45% of its imported wheat volume. Australia offers high-quality white wheat that is suitable for making noodles and other products that Indonesians like. Indonesia also imports wheat from Canada, Argentina, India, Brazil, and the US.

4. China

China is the fourth-largest wheat importer in the world, purchasing about 12 million MT of wheat in 2022, according to the World’s Top Exports website. Wheat is mainly used for making flour, which is then used for making noodles, steamed buns, dumplings, breads, and pastries in China. The country has a huge population of over 1.4 billion people, with diverse tastes and preferences. China also produces a lot of wheat domestically,
at about 136 million MT per year. However, China’s domestic wheat production is not enough to meet its growing demand, which is driven by urbanization, income growth, and changing consumption patterns.

China imports most of its wheat from France, which accounts for about 30% of its imported wheat volume. France offers high-quality soft wheat that is suitable for making pastries and other products that Chinese consumers like. China also imports wheat from Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

5. Turkey

Turkey is the fifth-largest wheat importer in the world, buying about 10 million MT of wheat in 2022, according to the World’s Top Exports website. Wheat is mainly used for making flour, which is then used for making bread, pasta, bulgur, and other products in Turkey. The country has a large population of over 80 million people, with a strong tradition of consuming wheat-based foods. Turkey also produces a lot of wheat domestically, at about 21 million MT per year. However, Turkey’s domestic wheat production is not enough to meet its high demand, which is driven by population growth, urbanization, and tourism.

Turkey imports most of its wheat from Russia, which accounts for about 40% of its imported wheat volume. Russia offers low-cost and good-quality wheat that is suitable for making bread and other products that Turkish consumers like. Turkey also imports wheat from Ukraine, Romania, Lithuania, and Moldova.

6. Algeria

Algeria is the sixth-largest wheat importer in the world, purchasing about 8.7 million MT of wheat in 2022, according to the World’s Top Exports website. Wheat is mainly used for making flour, which is then used for making bread, couscous, and other products in Algeria. The country has a large and growing population of over 40 million people, with a high per capita consumption of wheat-based foods. Algeria produces very little wheat domestically, at only about 3.5 million MT per year. This is due to several factors, such as arid climate, water scarcity, low yields, and lack of investment.

Algeria imports most of its wheat from France, which accounts for about 50% of its imported wheat volume. France offers high-quality soft and durum wheat that is suitable for making bread and couscous and other products that Algerians like. Algeria also imports wheat from Canada, Argentina, Germany, and Mexico.

7. Morocco

Morocco is the seventh-largest wheat importer in the world, buying about 7.5 million MT of wheat in 2022, according to the World’s Top Exports website. Wheat is mainly used for making flour, which is then used for making bread, couscous, and other products in Morocco. The country has a large and growing population of over 35 million people, with a high per capita consumption of wheat-based foods. Morocco produces about 7 million MT of wheat per year, but its production is highly variable due to weather conditions and droughts.

Morocco imports most of its wheat from France, which accounts for about 40% of its imported wheat volume. France offers high-quality soft and durum wheat that is suitable for making bread and couscous and other products that Moroccans like. Morocco also imports wheat from Ukraine, Russia, Argentina, and Canada.

Wheat is a vital crop for many countries in the world, especially for those that have large populations, high consumption rates, and low production capacities. The 7 biggest wheat importers in the world are Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, Turkey, Algeria, and Morocco. These countries import wheat mainly from Russia, Ukraine, France, Australia, Canada, Argentina, and the US. The global wheat trade is influenced by many factors, such as supply and demand, prices, quality, preferences, policies, and geopolitics.


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The Global Wheat Market: Trends and Challenges

Wheat is one of the most important staple crops in the world, providing food and feed for billions of people and animals. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global wheat production reached 776 million tonnes in 2021, an increase of 1.7% from the previous year. However, wheat consumption also grew by 2.1%, reaching 782 million tonnes, creating a supply deficit of 6 million tonnes. This gap was filled by drawing down wheat stocks, which declined by 4.4% to 272 million tonnes by the end of 2021.

The global wheat market is influenced by various factors, such as weather conditions, trade policies, demand patterns, and price fluctuations. In this article, we will examine some of the major trends and challenges facing the wheat industry in 2022 and beyond, based on the latest data and projections from various sources.

The Top Wheat Producers and Consumers

The top five wheat producers in the world in 2021 were China (136 million tonnes), India (109 million tonnes), Russia (85 million tonnes), the United States (50 million tonnes), and Canada (35 million tonnes). Together, they accounted for 53% of the global wheat output. China and India are also the top two wheat consumers in the world, consuming 133 million tonnes and 103 million tonnes respectively in 2021. The other major wheat consumers are the European Union (EU-27) (72 million tonnes), Pakistan (27 million tonnes), and Turkey (20 million tonnes).

The top five wheat exporters in the world in 2021 were Russia (39 million tonnes), the EU-27 (35 million tonnes), Canada (28 million tonnes), the United States (26 million tonnes), and Ukraine (18 million tonnes). They supplied 75% of the global wheat trade, which amounted to 196 million tonnes in 2021. The top five wheat importers in the world in 2021 were Egypt (13 million tonnes), China (12 million tonnes), Indonesia (11 million tonnes), Turkey (10 million tonnes), and Algeria (9 million tonnes). They accounted for 28% of the global wheat imports.

The Rising Wheat Demand and Prices

The global demand for wheat is expected to continue to rise in the coming years, driven by population growth, income growth, urbanization, dietary diversification, and feed use. The FAO projects that global wheat consumption will reach 801 million tonnes by 2022, an increase of 2.4% from 2021. The growth will be mainly concentrated in developing countries, especially in Asia and Africa, where wheat is a major source of calories and protein for many people.

The rising demand for wheat has also pushed up its prices in the international market. According to the International Grains Council (IGC), the global wheat price index averaged 246 points in December 2021, up by 31% from a year ago and by 58% from two years ago. The main factors behind the price surge include lower-than-expected production in some major exporting countries due to adverse weather conditions, strong import demand from China and other countries, tight global supplies relative to demand, high transport costs, and inflationary pressures.

The Challenges of Climate Change and Trade Tensions

The global wheat industry faces several challenges that could affect its production, trade, and food security in the future. One of the most pressing challenges is climate change, which poses significant risks to wheat yields and quality due to higher temperatures, droughts, floods, pests, diseases, and extreme weather events. According to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change, global wheat production could decline by 6% for every degree Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels, unless adaptation measures are taken.

Another challenge is trade tensions between some of the major wheat players, such as Russia and Ukraine, China and Australia, and the United States and China. These tensions could disrupt the smooth flow of wheat trade and affect the availability and affordability of wheat for many countries that depend on imports. For instance, Russia has imposed export taxes and quotas on its wheat exports since February 2021 to curb domestic inflation, while China has imposed anti-dumping duties on Australian barley imports since May 2020 amid political disputes.

The Opportunities for Innovation and Cooperation

Despite these challenges, there are also opportunities for innovation and cooperation in the global wheat industry. One of the opportunities is to invest in research and development to improve wheat productivity, resilience, quality, and diversity through breeding, biotechnology, precision agriculture, digitalization, and other technologies. For example, a new initiative called Accelerating Genetic Gains in Maize and Wheat for Improved Livelihoods aims to deliver improved wheat varieties to smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia faster and more efficiently.

Another opportunity is to enhance cooperation and coordination among wheat stakeholders, such as governments, farmers, traders, processors, consumers, researchers, and civil society, to address common issues and challenges, such as food security, climate change, trade policies, and market information. For example, the Global Wheat Program of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) works with partners in over 100 countries to develop and disseminate improved wheat technologies and practices that benefit millions of farmers and consumers.

References:

https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QCL/visualize

http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC/

http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/csdb/en/
https://www.igc.int/en/grainsupdate/gmrsummary.aspx
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01177-8
https://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?commodity=wheat&graph=imports

https://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?commodity=wheat&graph=imports

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/17/infographic-russia-ukraine-and-the-global-wheat-supply-interactive

https://www.forbes.com/sites/salgilbertie/2023/04/14/worlds-largest-wheat-producer-now-worlds-largest-wheat-importer-too/

https://oec.world/en/profile/hs/wheat



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