Growth in Africa offers opportunities for Australian grain

Grain Central February 27, 2024

South Africa imports wheat to supplement its domestic crops, with Australia a major supplier. File photo: Stephan Erasmus via GrainSA

RAPID population growth, urbanisation and economic development in Africa offer opportunities for the Australian grain industry in the years ahead.

While these opportunities should not be under-estimated, serving existing valuable markets in North and South-east Asia are expected to provide the best returns to Australian growers in coming decades.

This is the message from Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre market insights acting manager Chris Carter to the Grains Research Update in Perth, hosted by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Dr Carter’s findings are from the Africa 2035 Insights project delivered by AEGIC through investment from Grains Australia.

Grains Australia, an initiative of the GRDC, is responsible for vital industry services and functions that improve the industry’s competitiveness and profitability.

Chris Carter. Photo: AEGIC

Dr Carter said population growth, urbanisation and economic development in Africa were already affecting food consumption patterns and offered prospects for increased use of grain-based foods.

“By 2035 the population in Africa is tipped to increase by nearly 400 million people, responsible for about half of the world’s population growth,” Dr Carter said.

“These developments position Africa as a robust source of new grain demand, necessitating increased local crop production, enhanced grain supply chains and dependable new grain import sources.

“However, the Australian grain industry’s attention should continue to be on serving the drivers of consumption growth in North and South East Asia which are existing, high-paying markets.”

Dr Carter said Australia should remain focused on Africa as an opportunistic market and maintain connection through developing relationships and supplying expertise and technology.

“The industry should monitor African markets and seek to better understand changes in consumption towards more convenient food options and non-traditional food choices, as they occur.”

Dr Carter said East Africa offered advantages for Australian grain, due to its shipping proximity, with relevant nations including Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

There was potential for imports of wheat in particular into Africa, with a rapidly growing gap between wheat production and consumption in East Africa and some other African countries.

Source: Grains Australia



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