OALP Class Hears from US Wheat Official on African TourWed, 26 Feb 2014 17:41:18 CST
Class XVI of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program continues its trip in Africa to learn more about the industry and to explore options for Oklahoma producers.
Gerald Theus, US Wheat Associates deputy regional director of operations for Subsaharan Africa met with the group to outline his organizationís efforts.
He says US Wheat currently operates 14 offices around the world. His office is responsible for 36 African countries that cover an area 2.5 times the size of the United States. The areaís population of 400 million people is expected to double to 800 million by 2050.
Currently, the Subsaharan region consumes about three million metric tons of wheat while only producing 1.5 million tons. The balance is imported, mainly from Australia. The distance of the region from the United States puts its wheat at a distinct disadvantage.
Nigeria is the largest African importer of wheat at 2.3 million metric tons. It is followed by South Africa and Western Africa. Hard white wheat accounts for the highest proportions of their imported wheat. Again, most is from Australia because the U.S. does not export enough soft white wheat to meet their demand.
Wheat grown in African is mostly moved by rail and truck.
Hard red winter wheat is the most consumed variety.
GMO wheat is not nearly the issue in Africa that it is in Europe or the United States. Africa is the 8th leading GMO producer in the world. Several countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Malawi are among a number of countries conducting GMO wheat trials at this time.
Gluten is not an issue in Africa. South Africa, around the Cape, and some areas in Nigeria have a few issues with it, but nothing newsworthy.
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