Oregon wheat harvest

Kenya has dropped its ban on importing wheat for Oregon, Washington and Idaho, giving Northwest growers a potential boost.

WASHINGTON D.C. — Kenya has lifted its ban on exports from Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

The U.S. Wheat Association announced the end to the trade barrier in a recent news release. The Oregon Wheat Growers League reacted with enthusiasm.

“The acceptance of export phytosanitary inspection and certification provides access to a market restricted to Oregon growers for more than a decade,” Amanda Hoey, Oregon Wheat CEO, stated in a news release. “Kenya imports much of its annual wheat supply, since its domestic production only supports around 10% of annual consumption needs. This change has a significant impact for Oregon Wheat market potential in Kenya, but also for U.S. wheat going into Uganda as they are using Kenya’s port facilities and thus have been restricted to those same import requirements.”

As part of the technical agreement, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will work with U.S. stakeholders to enhance general surveillance for flag smut of wheat (Urocystis agropyri) in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Kenya also agreed to initiate talks on a free trade agreement.

According to the U.S. Wheat Association, a free trade agreement with Kenya could provide more favorable tariff and sanitary-phytosanitary provisions for U.S. wheat in a market that annually imports around 2 million metric tons.

The United States supplies around 5% of this market, or about 120,000 metric tons per year, the U.S. Wheat Association reported. Kenya imports much of its wheat from nearby suppliers Russia, Ukraine and the European Union — which often has a price and freight advantage over Pacific Northwest wheat supplies. But free trade agreement would allow Kenyan flour millers access to quality U.S. wheat supplies at a lower cost.

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