Honeywell Flour mills recently expanded one of its plants in Nigeria, which included the installation of Bühler’s Antares roller mills. Photo courtesy of Bühler. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is a massive market for wheat flour served by some of its biggest flour milling companies in a highly concentrated industry. Low local production means it is dependent on imported wheat supplies to keep its mills going.
The industry is dependent on imported wheat. In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture attaché forecast Nigeria’s 2018-19 imports of wheat at 5.4 million tonnes, up 200,000 from the year before. Domestic production is around 60,000 tonnes.
“Locally produced wheat is not economically suitable for milling wheat flour for producing bread, spaghetti, etc., consumed in Nigeria’s urban areas,” the report said.
“Over the last two decades, the U.S. wheat industry (through the U.S. Wheat Associates) invested in numerous capacity-building activities for Nigeria’s flour millers, bakers and pasta manufacturers through training in the United States and Nigeria,” the attaché said. “As a result, the U.S. market share reached about 90% in 2011.”
However, the market share of U.S. wheat dropped to around 35% in 2017.
“In order to stay competitive in Nigeria’s price-sensitive market, flour millers increasingly blend the lower quality/lower cost wheat mostly from the Black Sea region, with the higher quality/high cost U.S. wheat,” the attaché said. “Freight paid on wheat imports from the Black Sea is also lower compared to that from the United States.”
But the United States is determined to regain market share. The U.S. Wheat Associates on June 28-29 took 10 participants from Nigeria and South Africa to the IGP Institute Conference Center in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., for training on flour milling, with lectures and hands-on training exercises led by Kansas State University faculty and staff. The group included Hakeem Alabi from Flour Mills of Nigeria, Emmanuel Elechukwu of Dangote Flour Mills Ikorodu-Lagos and Olayode Muhammed of Honeywell Flourmills PLC.
Nigerian millers were also among flour milling executives hosted by the Texas Wheat Producers Board June 11-14 in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
“Hosting the sub-Saharan African trade team is part of the ongoing market development efforts of the board,” said Rodney Mosier, executive vice-president of Texas Wheat. “The event is designed to maintain and increase wheat exports, which will reduce carryover stocks and strengthen wheatprices.”
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