The African Cereal Grain Market Reached $84.1 Billion Cereals February 27, 2015
Author: Alla Yakimova
Market Analyst

The African cereal grain market has shown mixed dynamics in the last few years. The significant growth in 2008 (+54% Y-o-Y) was followed by a sharp decrease in 2009 (-13% Y-o-Y). Over the next three years, the market gradually increased, reaching 84.1 billion USD of total revenue in 2013.

Between 2007 and 2013, African production of cereal grains illustrated sustainable growth, amounting to 182 million tonnes. The gradual increase during the period 2007-2011 was followed by a slight decline in 2012 and a recovery in 2013. The annual average growth rate was 5% over the period under review.   Similar dynamics were observed in the volume of harvested areas, which increased from 102.4 million HA in 2007 to 112.4 million HA in 2013, representing a CAGR of 1.6%.

The average level of yield for African countries hovered slightly in the last five years, with the highest level of 16,200 Hg/Ha recorded in 2013 and the lowest level of 13,600 Hg/HA in 2013.

The countries with the largest production of cereal grains in absolute volumes are Nigeria (27.0 million tonnes), Ethiopia (22.7 million tonnes) and Egypt (22.3 million tonnes). Nigeria produced approximately 15% of total African maize output and 26% of total sorgo output. Egypt held the highest shares of total African output for wheat and rice paddy, with 33% and 21%, respectively.

The countries with the largest harvested area were Nigeria (17.5 million Ha), Ethiopia (10.2 million Ha), Niger (10.2 million Has) and Sudan (10.1 million Ha), which together accounted for 44% of total harvested areas in Africa. Between 2007 and 2013, the highest annual growth rate was recorded in the United Republic of Tanzania (+6.6%). The lowest annual growth rate was recorded in Nigeria (-1.9%). The remaining countries showed positive dynamics in relative values.

African countries are extremely dependented on cereal grains imports. More than two-thirds of total grain consumption in the continent are imported. The share of exports is negligible, as almost all volume of output is consumed domestically.

In 2013, Madagascar, Egypt and Algeria were the main destinations of grain imports, and together made up 69% of African imports in physical terms. And while the shares of total imports for Madagascar and Mozambique increased, the share of Nigeria illustrated negative dynamics.   

South Africa dominates in cereal grain exports, accounting for 67% share of total exports from Africa in 2013. It was distantly followed by Egypt, Madagascar, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria. From 2007-2013, South Africa and Madagascar significantly strengthened their positions in the African export structure, while Egypt reduced its share.