FILE – A harvester collects wheat in the village of Zghurivka, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022InternationalIndiaAfricaMuhammad Nooh OsmanWriter/EditorFood insecurity is a pervasive issue in many African countries, including Senegal. Despite the fact that agriculture is a key sector in the country’s economy, Senegal relies heavily on cereal grain imports, mostly from Russia and France.Senegal, known for being one of the world’s leading producers of peanuts, is now venturing into wheat farming as the cereal market becomes increasingly tense, and the country seeks to decrease its dependence on imports.Minister of Agriculture, Aly Ndiaye, has revealed that Senegal intends to explore wheat cultivation, stating that certain wheat varieties could thrive in the country and produce higher yields than other African nations.”We are thinking of starting with 1,000 hectares, but private partners are asking us to start production with 5,000 hectares. We are going to support these achievements […] The evolution of crops is promising, and I have the feeling, while waiting perhaps for the tests to prove it to us, that we will have yields far superior to those of our Egyptian partners”, the minister declared.The West African nation is currently conducting experiments in its northern region, using five one-hectare sites to determine the most profitable wheat variations. Three common wheat varieties and one durum wheat variety are being tested by specialists, according to Minister Ndiaye.Senegal relies heavily on cereal grain imports, mostly from Russia and France. The country’s demand for cereals is consistently growing, with imports increasing by 9% hitting 754,000 tons in 2021, as reported by the Senegalese National Agency for Statistics and Demography (ANSD).
Food Security in Africa
The issue of food security has long been a challenge for many African countries, with a significant number of people across the continent facing hunger and malnutrition. Among the main factors contributing to this dilemma are climate change, which appears in the form of droughts, and the reliance on imported grains, which often come at a high cost and can be subject to fluctuations in global prices. AfricaKenya’s President Ruto Holds National Prayer Day to Ask God For Rain14 February, 18:57 GMTHowever, in recent years, many African nations have been taking steps to reduce their dependence on grain imports and boost their own agricultural production.
Ethiopia has thus recently become a wheat exporter, thanks to new cluster cultivation strategies and investments in irrigation.
Take Zimbabwe, which has experienced excellent cereal harvests in 2022, after lean years. These extraordinary yields have enabled the Zimbabwean nation to ensure its food security and also to become an exporter again. Further north, Maghreb countries are facing an unprecedented drought, which requires the implementation of new agricultural strategies. Morocco, for example, is testing new wheat varieties that are more resistant to heat.