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Wheat Consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Drivers, and Policy Implications


  • Mason, Nicole M.
  • Jayne, Thomas S.
  • Shiferaw, Bekele A.


Wheat consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is increasing rapidly, faster than any other major food grain. Between 2000 and 2009, per capita wheat consumption in SSA increased at a rate of 0.35 kilogram (kg)/year, outpacing maize and rice. Total wheat consumption increased by nearly 650,000 Metric tons (MT)/year. Staple grain consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa is rising at the same time that the region is becoming more dependent on imported staples. Wheat consumed in SSA is increasingly coming from imports from non-SSA countries as wheat production in SSA has failed to keep up with growing demand. Africa’s growing reliance on imported staples including wheat received a great deal of attention in the 1980s and 1990s, yet there has been relatively little research on this issue in recent years. This paper takes stock of trends in wheat consumption and net imports in SSA since 1980, and identifies the drivers of growing demand for wheat at country-level in SSA. It also discusses the potential dilemmas posed by SSA’s increasing reliance on imported staples, and examines the pros and cons of various options for African countries to meet their staple grain needs.

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  • Mason, Nicole M. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Shiferaw, Bekele A., 2012. "Wheat Consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Drivers, and Policy Implications," Food Security International Development Working Papers 146936, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:midiwp:146936

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    1. Berhane, Guush & Paulos, Zelekawork & Tafere, Kibrom & Tamru, Seneshaw, 2011. "Foodgrain consumption and calorie intake patterns in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 23, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Boughton, Duncan & Reardon, Thomas, 1997. "Will promotion of coarse grain processing turn the tide for traditional cereals in the Sahel? Recent empirical evidence from Mali," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 307-316, August.
    3. Byerlee, Derek, 1987. "The Political Economy of Third World Food Imports: The Case of Wheat," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 307-328, January.
    4. Jonathan M. Nzuma & Rakhal Sarker, 2010. "An error corrected almost ideal demand system for major cereals in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(1), pages 43-50, January.
    5. Jayne, Thomas S. & Mason, Nicole M. & Myers, Robert J. & Ferris, John N. & Mather, David & Sitko, Nicholas & Beaver, Margaret & Lenski, Natalie & Chapoto, Antony & Boughton, Duncan, 2010. "Patterns and Trends in Food Staples Markets in Eastern and Southern Africa: Toward the Identification of Priority Investments and Strategies for Developing Markets and Promoting Smallholder Productivi," Food Security International Development Working Papers 62148, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    6. Mason, Nicole M. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Donovan, Cynthia & Chapoto, Antony, 2009. "Are Staple Foods Becoming More Expensive For Urban Consumers In Eastern And Southern Africa? Trends in Food Prices, Marketing Margins, and Wage Rates in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia," Food Security International Development Working Papers 53451, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    7. Ben Senauer & David Sahn & Harold Alderman, 1986. "The Effect of the Value of Time on Food Consumption Patterns in Developing Countries: Evidence from Sri Lanka," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 68(4), pages 920-927.
    8. Mason, Nicole M. & Jayne, T.S. & Chapoto, Antony & Donovan, Cynthia, 2011. "Putting the 2007/2008 global food crisis in longer-term perspective: Trends in staple food affordability in urban Zambia and Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 350-367, June.
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    Agricultural and Food Policy; Demand and Price Analysis; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; International Development; International Relations/Trade; Marketing;

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