Colombia Chooses Other Continents for Wheat Trade


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Oct 10, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

The buzzing streets of Bogotá may seem distant from the golden fields of wheat, but in reality, they are intricately connected. Colombia, a nation renowned for its rich culture, coffee beans, and emeralds, has also become a notable player in the global wheat import scenario. But what factors have determined Colombia’s wheat trade and imports from January to August 2023? Let’s unthread the spool and delve into the labyrinthine world of Colombia’s wheat trade.

Colombia Wheat Landscape

First, why does Colombia need to import wheat? It’s not a matter of mere choice but of necessity. Colombia’s topography and climate are more conducive to crops like coffee, bananas, and tropical fruits than to wheat. Hence, its dependency on imports to meet the domestic demand for bread, pastries, and other staples. Average wheat production in Colombia has decreased significantly over the last 40 years, currently under 3.7 million bushels per year, which makes Colombia dependent on imports.

The year 2023 has been particularly interesting. What changed? Several key factors have come into play, starting with global price fluctuations. International wheat prices have been somewhat volatile, influenced by unpredictable weather patterns in major wheat-producing countries. For Colombia, which isn’t just an observer but an active participant in this market, these price fluctuations can mean the difference between a profitable trade and a loss.

A deeper look into the matter raises a rhetorical question: Why doesn’t Colombia simply turn to its neighbors? It’s not that simple. Trading, after all, is not merely about geography but about optimizing quality, price, and delivery. While neighboring countries might offer proximity, they might not always offer the best deal in terms of price or quality.

Furthermore, Colombia’s internal policies in 2023 have made waves. Emphasis on sustainable farming and a push for organic products have meant that Colombia is not just looking for any wheat but for wheat that aligns with its newfound values. This is a tradeoff – choosing ethically sourced wheat might mean paying a premium.

According to AgFlow data, Colombia imported 0.4 million tons of Wheat from Canada in Jan – Sep 2023, followed by US (0.35 million tons), France (0.12 million tons), Brazil (0.12 million tons), Argentina (0.1 million tons), and Romania (36,819 tons). Total imports hit 1.1 million tons. Average volume of shipments was 37,097 tons. Colombia was purchasing large amounts of Wheat from Canada and the US, such as 119,000 and 103,000 tons, respectively.   


Colombia Chooses Other Continents for Wheat Trade

Speaking of tradeoffs, what about the balance between cost and quality? While opting for high-quality wheat invariably means more satisfied bakers and consumers, it also inflates the cost. On the other hand, cost-cutting by importing sub-par wheat can undermine Colombia’s flourishing bakery industry. It’s a classic dilemma: How do you achieve the perfect balance?

Another challenge in 2023 has been logistical. With global transportation systems still recovering from the shocks of the past few years, ensuring the timely arrival of wheat consignments is a Herculean task. A delay of a few days can lead to significant losses, given the perishable nature of the commodity.

By now, you might be visualizing the wheat trade as a complex dance of decisions. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Imagine a scale, with sustainability on one end, cost on the other, and quality dangling precariously in the middle. The challenge for Colombia? To ensure that the scale doesn’t tip too much on any side.


In closing, the world of wheat imports and trade isn’t just about transactions of grains. It’s about understanding a country’s palate, priorities, constraints, and aspirations. Colombia’s wheat trade in 2023 is, thus, not just a story of commerce but a narrative of its evolving identity in the global marketplace.

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