CARACAS, VENEZUELA — Venezuela will import 16% more wheat in 2021-22, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Exports are expected to total 1.1 million tonnes, up from last year’s forecast of 950,000 tonnes.

The United States and Canada were the main suppliers in 2020-21 but imports from both are expected to fall in 2021-22 since production is down in both those countries.

Reduced global wheat supplies this year will impact the availability for Venezuelan importers, the USDA said, as the United States and Canada are the preferred origins for hard red winter or its Canadian equivalent Canada western red wheat, for all-purpose flour and bakery flour production. The only viable alternative is American hard red winter upon availability, since Canadian logistics are more complicated and expensive.

Venezuela also will import Mexican durum, although this is less preferred due to lower quality and yields. Argentinian durum is not a cost-effective option.

In 2020-21, Venezuelan wheat imports were 1,078,000 tonnes, a slight decrease of 4% from the USDA official estimate. This was due to local financing and the reduced purchase power of the industry, the USDA said.

Turkey and Brazil are the main suppliers of processed wheat products such as pasta and wheat flours. Price is the key factor determining imports of wheat products to Venezuela.

The average monthly exports of Turkish pasta almost double monthly Venezuelan production due to low prices. The average price for the national pasta is around $1 per kg., while the price of imported Turkish pasta ranges between 70¢ to 85¢ per kg.