Australia loses wheat market share in Africa and Middle East


LOW freight rates and a roll-back in government subsidies are taking their toll on Australian wheat exports to Africa and the Middle East.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows shipments to both regions totalled a little more than three million tonnes for the 12 months to September 30 this year — about 19 per cent of Australia’s total wheat exports of 16.1 million tonnes last season.

According to CBH Group’s Middle East and Africa marketing manager Sean Cowman, both regions would have averaged about 40 per cent of the nation’s total exports 10-20 years ago.

Several African governments were cutting back their subsidies to local flour millers and end-users, prompting a push for lower-quality, cheaper wheat from the Black Sea region, Baltic States and South America. Lower freight rates were also working against Australia, he said.

The ABS data shows Australia exported 885,000 tonnes of wheat to African nations last season, about half the previous year and the second-smallest level of exports to the region in more than 20 years.


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