Wheat is second among cereal crops in Kenya in terms of production and consumption after maize. The wheat sub sector contributes Ksh. 20 billion to the GDP and employs over 500,000 people. On average the area under wheat is 146,800 Ha with an estimated production of 365,600 MT (4.05 million 90Kg bags) (source AGRICULTURE AND FOOD AUTHORITY)
In 2022, Canada produced 33.8 million tonnes of wheat, which is the third highest production on record and the highest since 2020.
In 2023, Canada planted 26.9 million acres of wheat, which is a 6.7% increase from 2022.
In 2023, total wheat production decreased by 6.9% to 32 million tonnes due to lower production in the Prairies.
In 2022, 92% of Canada’s wheat came from spring wheat varieties, while the remaining 8% came from winter wheat.
THE FOLLOWING ARE FACTORS THAT ENABLE CANADA TO PRODUCE MORE WHEAT THAN KENYA
- Wheat growing in Canada is more mechanized leading to higher production than in Kenya
- More capital is available in Canada enabling farmers to sustain production
- Farmers in Canada are more experienced due to long history of wheat production than in Kenya
- Advanced scientific research in Canada enables the production of higher yielding seeds/better farm inputs/control of pests and diseases/overcome limitations of weather
- Wheat farmers in Canada specialize in wheat production while in Kenya, farmers practice mixed farming
- In Canada, there are more extensive tracts of land suitable for wheat growing than in Kenya.
- Climate and Geography: Canada has favorable climatic conditions and vast expanses of fertile land that are well-suited for wheat cultivation. The Prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, known as the “Breadbasket of Canada,” have rich soils and receive adequate rainfall, providing optimal conditions for wheat growth. In contrast, Kenya’s climate and geography may be less conducive to large-scale wheat production.
- Infrastructure and Technology: Canada has well-developed infrastructure and advanced agricultural technology, which contribute to efficient wheat production. The availability of modern farming equipment, irrigation systems, and transportation networks allows Canadian farmers to optimize their production processes and achieve higher yields. Kenya, on the other hand, may face challenges with limited infrastructure and access to modern agricultural technologies.
- Research and Development: Canada has a strong agricultural research and development sector that focuses on improving wheat varieties, crop management practices, and disease control. Research institutions and agricultural universities in Canada continuously work on developing high-yielding and disease-resistant wheat varieties. This enables Canadian farmers to adopt advanced agricultural practices and benefit from improved seed varieties. Kenya may have research and development initiatives as well, but the level of investment and focus on wheat-specific research may differ.
- Government Support and Policies: The Canadian government provides support and incentives to the agricultural sector, including wheat production. Subsidies, favorable policies, and research funding contribute to the competitiveness of Canadian wheat farmers. These measures can enhance productivity and profitability. While Kenya may also have government support for agriculture, the level of investment and focus on wheat production may vary.
- Market Demand and Export Opportunities: Canada has a significant domestic market for wheat consumption, and it also exports a substantial amount of wheat to international markets. The availability of a large market and export opportunities provides an incentive for Canadian farmers to expand wheat production. Kenya’s domestic wheat demand may be lower, and the country may have fewer export opportunities, impacting the scale of wheat production.