Wheat value chains in Malawi: trends, gaps, challenges and opportunities

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Guwela, V. F., Maliro, M. F. A, Joy, E. J. M., Tang, K., Bokosi, J., Hawkesford, M. J., Broadley, M. and King, J. 2021. Wheat value chains in Malawi: trends, gaps, challenges and opportunities. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience. 16 (046), pp. 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1079/PAVSNNR202116046

AuthorsGuwela, V. F., Maliro, M. F. A, Joy, E. J. M., Tang, K., Bokosi, J., Hawkesford, M. J., Broadley, M. and King, J.

Wheat (Tritcum aestivum L.) is an important cereal crop, consumed by over 2.5 billion people globally. The current demand for wheat in Malawi is estimated to be 200,000 tonnes/year with a projected growth in consumption of 3%–6% annually. We reviewed literature and databases on wheat production, imports, processing and consumption to describe current wheat value chains in Malawi, and to identify possible future economic and food security opportunities. The current gap between the supply and demand of wheat in Malawi is large with 99% imported due to low domestic production. The main actors in the value chain include importers, millers, bakeries, biscuit manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. In total, 45% of milled flour is utilised by commercial bakeries, 46% is distributed to rural and urban outlets and biscuit manufacturers utilise 9%. Although there is no information on wheat exports between 2016 and 2019, FAOSTAT crop database and the ITC Trade Map databases show small quantities of wheat flour exports prior to 2016. Production constraints include the lack of a national wheat development strategy, lack of stable markets, unavailability of improved varieties, low input use and limited knowledge in the management of wheat crop. Currency devaluation and limited forex reserves further affect the annual import volumes and prices of wheat flour on the domestic market. We conclude that domestic production and wider value chain opportunities could be increased through policy support, including research for development, expansion of production into non-traditional wheat growing areas, investing in irrigation and developing market systems.

KeywordsWheat (Triticum aestivum L.); Value chains; Production; Imports; Consumption
Year of Publication2021
JournalCABI Agriculture and Bioscience
Journal citation16 (046), pp. 1-16
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1079/PAVSNNR202116046
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeDesigning Future Wheat - WP1 - Increased efficiency and sustainability
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online11 Aug 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted24 Jun 2021
PublisherCAB International (CABI)

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