BURKINA FASO – Burkina Faso has temporarily suspended imports of wheat flour, taking an unexpected step to boost local production and strengthen food self-sufficiency.

This was announced by the Ministry of Industrial Development, Trade, Crafts and Small and Medium Enterprises in a press release published on April 8.

According to the authorities, this decision is part of the consolidation of the consumer products market.

“As the importation of wheat flour is subject to a Special Import Authorization (ASI), the issuance of ASIs for wheat flour is also suspended. In any case, any contravention of this decision is subject to sanctions in accordance with the regulations in force,” the press release stated.

In Burkina Faso, wheat is the 2nd  cereal imported after rice. The country depends heavily on the international market to meet its needs in the grass and its derived products. 

While it is still too early to discuss the repercussions of this restriction on local supplies, Burkina Faso wheat production is negligible hence it meets the domestic demand through imports mainly from France and Russia.

Additionally, the country’s wheat flour imports mainly come from Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo, where these three countries provide almost all shipments each year through re-exports. 

According to data compiled on the Trademap platform, the country imported more than 12,400 tonnes of wheat flour worth more than US$5.5 million in 2022.

The country, however, is optimistic that by launching local projects, local production can shield the country from huge import bills.

Last year, the government channelled 113.2 million CFA francs (US$184,653) to boost wheat production to reduce imports which cover almost all the consumption needs of the country.

The move followed a financial agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal and Fishery Resources and the Institute for the Environment and Agricultural Research (INERA) relating to the production of wheat seeds.

According to the authorities, 50 varieties of soft wheat and 49 varieties of durum wheat for making couscous are already being tested in the commune of Farakoba in the Hauts-Bassins region. 

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