WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The government of Ethiopia has issued an international competitive tender to buy 400,000 tonnes of milling wheat,  citing continued struggles to fill the gap of wheat supply in the local milling and baking industries, according to a March 21 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Most bakeries that receive subsidized wheat flour are reportedly operating way below their capacity,” the USDA said. “This shortfall is partly due to grain shortages and logistics challenges to quickly move consignments from Port of Djibouti to warehouses in Ethiopia.”

The USDA said bids for the wheat are due by April 19, with delivery of the contracted wheat expected to begin by June/July.

This marks the second tender issued by the government of Ethiopia in 2019. In February, the government selected three international grain suppliers (Bunge SA, Amropa AG and Archer Daniels Midland Co.) to deliver 400,000 tonnes of milling wheat. But following a complaint from a Dubai-based supplier with the lowest offer ($270 per tonne), the government reversed course and awarded the contract to the Dubai company.

The USDA said it expects the supplier to source most of the contract from the Black Sea region due to price.

According to the government of Ethiopia’s Customs Commission, Ethiopia imported nearly 1.7 million tonnes of milling wheat in 2017-18.