In the next 10 years, developing countries with rising incomes and growing populations will drive wheat industry growth, but U.S. market share is expected to decline due to rising Black Sea wheat production and trade, according to USDA’s Agricultural Long-term Projections report. 

In the annual report released this week, USDA predicts annual world wheat imports will reach 157 million metric tons (MMT) by marketing year 2021/2022, which is 15 percent greater than the 2011/2012 estimate of 137 MMT. 

According to USDA’s projections, the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States will have the largest increase in wheat imports for any region, growing 31 percent to 8.2 MMT.

The report projects imports by Middle East countries, excluding Egypt, will rise 24 percent to 19.6 MMT.

Together, the West Africa and Middle East countries will account for 51 percent of the total expected increase in world trade in the next 10 years.

USDA expects Egypt to maintain its position as the world’s single largest wheat buyer, as estimated imports could climb 17 percent from 10.5 MMT in 2011/2012 to 12.5 MMT in 2021/2022.

According to projections, Saudi Arabia will experience the greatest percentage increase in imports, jumping 52 percent to 3.2 MMT, due primarily to the government’s decision to eliminate wheat production by 2016 because of water scarcity issues.