Highlight: the TAAT Wheat Project

  • 23rd February 2019
  • by secretary

Wheat is an important strategic food security crop in Africa, where billions of dollars are spent on imports although there is a great potential to produce the crop locally. The African Development Bank (AfDB), bolstered by the successes of the Support for Agricultural Research and Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC) projects, started a new initiative – TAAT. (Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation).

  • The TAAT programme consists of nine value chains (rice, cassava, wheat, sorghum/millet, maize, high iron beans, orange-fleshed sweet potato, small livestock and aquaculture) and six enabler/cross-cutting (policy, capacity building, ENABLE-TAAT, water management, and fall armyworm) compacts.
  • In the TAAT Wheat Project project, transforming wheat production is at the forefront of the Feed Africa agenda of the the African Development Bank AfDB to ensure self-sufficiency of the continent. 
  • ICARDA is implementing the TAAT Wheat Project. 
  • The project focuses on seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe) and seeks to transform domestic wheat production and commercialization to achieve wheat selfsufficiency in target countries.
TAAT Wheat Project Launch in Sudan 
28–30 October 2018 in Khartoum, Sudan. The launch of the TAAT Wheat Project and the National Wheat Seed Sector Consultation Workshop.
In Sudan, wheat was traditionally grown for thousands of years as a staple crop in the northern part of the country where temperatures are low. However, increased demand arising from an increased population and urbanization pushed wheat production towards the southern states with their shorter, hotter winters. The availability of heat-tolerant varieties boosted wheat production to a level of 90% self-sufficiency in the 1990s. However, inconsistent government policies led to a decline in self-sufficiency; at its lowest it was just 20%. With SARD-SC intervention, however, wheat self-sufficiency reached about 36% in the 2015/16 crop season. Local production reached about 780,000 tonnes compared to a total national consumption of 2 million tonnes. 

TAAT Wheat Project Launch in Nigeria
28–29 November 2018 in Kano, Nigeria. The National Wheat Seed Sector Consultation Workshop 16 October 2018. Abuja, Nigeria.  Project launch meeting.
In Nigeria, as elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, wheat is becoming a strategic staple food crop – a result of increased demand arising from an increased population and urbanization and changing food habits. Nigeria has both irrigated and rainfed wheat production conditions. Commercial production usually takes place under Seed Info January 2019 | Issue No. 56 6 irrigation between latitudes 10°N and 14°N during the dry Harmattan season (November–March). The availability of heat-tolerant varieties had enabled wheat production to reach 90% in the 1990s. The wheat production level in Nigeria has been very low.