The biggest buyers of wheat in the year 2020 were Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, China, and Nigeria. Together, these importing countries procured around 25.2% of overall wheat imports in that year. Brazil, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Algeria, Japan, Morocco, and Mexico are some of the other significant wheat importers. The fastest-growing market for wheat since 2019 are China, Nigeria, Morocco, and Italy.
Wheat is a grain that is cultivated worldwide as it is a staple and one of the most important food ingredients in various cultures and cuisines. Did you know that corn, rice, and wheat together are responsible for 51 percent of the world’s caloric intake? In the year 2020, the amount of wheat imported globally generated a total of US$47.4 billion in international purchases.
Major Wheat Importers
Egypt is considered as one of the top grain importing countries in the world and the number one for wheat. The country imported US$2.7 billion worth of wheat during 2020, which was 5.7 percent of the total quantity of the imported grain.
The country has a large and growing population and the domestic production of grains and oilseeds falls short of the total requirements, which necessitates large-scale imports.
Egypt ranked first among the countries making the most bulk wheat imports in 2019, importing the grain worth $4.67B, according to the statistics provided by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). It primarily imports from Russia, Ukraine, Romania, the United States, and France.
This is one of the most promising markets for wheat exporters. The demand for wheat in Indonesia is driven by a growing population, sustained income growth, and fast urbanization. The population of the country is expected to grow to 330 million by 2050.
Many Indonesians are dependent on wheat flour-based foods such as instant noodles in their everyday diet. The country is however fully reliant on wheat imports to cater to the demand, both for human consumption as well as animal feed.
Indonesia’s top 10 import partners of wheat in 2019 were Canada, Ukraine, Argentina, United States, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Pakistan.
In recent years, Tukey has emerged to be an important player in the global wheat trade, with the imports of the commodity increasing to record levels in the country.
Turkey imported $2.33 billion worth of wheat in 2020 predominantly from Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Mexico, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Spain, and Poland. This trend has been powered by lower domestic production, increase in government imports to stabilize domestic prices, and an increase in the export of wheat based products such as pasta and bread. The major suppliers of wheat to Turkey are Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Mexico, and Spain.
The Ministry of Trade in Turkey has put in place an Inward Processing Regime (IPR) which enables duty free import of wheat if it is to be processed and re-exported. The exporters in the country generally buy wheat for the sole purpose of manufacture and subsequent exportation of pasta, semolina, bread, biscuits, and flour.
In an era of great concern about food security amidst the backdrop of two years of forced lockdown, an understanding of the global wheat market can allow producers, traders, and policymakers to plan more effectively and make the most of emerging opportunities.