Wheat is one of the oldest food sources for humans. According to the FAO, wheat is the second most important food crop after rice, providing 20% of daily protein and calories for 4.5 billion people across the world. Currently, wheat is the most widely grown crop cultivated in 128 countries with a global production of 772 million tonnes in 2017. Globally, about 61% of wheat production is used for food and 17% for animal feed.  

Wheat is also one of the most popular cereal crops produced in the majority of OIC member countries. According to the latest estimates of FAO, the production of wheat in OIC countries was recorded at 119 million tonnes in 2017 compared to 86 million tonnes in 2000. During the same period, the total area for wheat harvest has also climbed from 48.4 to 51.6 million hectares. On the other hand, the share of OIC countries in the total production of wheat in the world has witnessed a mixed trend averaging at around 15% in 2017. As of 2017, 38 member countries were producing wheat with a total harvested area of 51.6 million hectares, corresponding to 17.5% of their total arable land and permanent crops area.

At the individual country level, cultivation and production of wheat remained highly concentrated in a handful of OIC countries. In 2017, top-10 producers accounted for around 91% of OIC wheat production. Among these major wheat-producing countries, Pakistan alone accounted for nearly a quarter (22.3%) of OIC total production followed by Turkey (18.0%), Kazakhstan (12.4%) and Iran (11.7%). Currently, six OIC member countries are ranked among the top-20 wheat producers in the world. Among these members, Pakistan is ranked 8th, Turkey is ranked 11th, Kazakhstan is ranked 14th, Iran is ranked 14th and Egypt is ranked 17th.

As a primary source of nourishment, wheat is consumed as food widely across the world. According to the latest estimates, more than 61% of global wheat (750 million tonnes) is used for food, 17% is used for livestock feed and the rest for other purposes (such as for seed or industrial use). In line with global trends, most of the wheat in OIC countries is also consumed as food. As shown in Figure 3, 121 million tonnes of wheat were used as food in OIC countries which is even about 7 million tonnes higher than their total production. On the other hand, 18 million tonnes of wheat were used for feeding livestock, corresponding to 16% of OIC total wheat production.

In absolute terms, the highest amount of wheat is used for food in Pakistan (20.7 million tonnes), followed by Turkey (12.7 million tonnes), Egypt (12 million tonnes) and Iran (11.9 million tonnes). The relative share of wheat used for food in total production varies greatly across the major producers and consumers of wheat in OIC countries. Among the top-20 consumers of wheat, food use of wheat is higher than the local production in 12 member countries. In other words, the majority of these countries depend on imports to satisfy the local demand of wheat. Among others, over 60% of wheat production is used for food in Pakistan, 71% in Uzbekistan, 61% in Turkey and Turkmenistan. On the other hand, Egypt is the top OIC country with respect to feed use of wheat (4.9 million tonnes) followed by Uzbekistan (3.3 million tonnes) and Morocco (2 million tonnes).

OIC member countries, as a group, are an important player in global wheat trade with a total value of US$ 18.8 billion, corresponding to 23% of global wheat trade. However, imports account for the bulk of wheat trade in OIC countries. In 2017, wheat exports by OIC countries totaled only US$ 0.7 billion compared to only US$ 18.1 billion in imports. The relative share of OIC countries in global wheat exports and imports was recorded at 2% and 42.2%, respectively. Source: UN COMTRADE and ITC statistics

At the individual country level, over 98% of total wheat exports for 2017 are coming from only five OIC members. Among these, Kazakhstan is the largest wheat exporter with a lion share (91.2%) of OIC total followed by Iran and Turkey. Though a relatively better distribution can be observed with respect to imports, top-5 importers still account for 58% of total wheat imports in OIC countries. Among these countries, Indonesia is the largest importer accounting for 20.1% of OIC total wheat imports followed by Egypt (14.5%), Algeria (9.9%), Bangladesh (6.9%) and Turkey (6.8%). 

Kazakhstan and Turkey are ranked among the top exporters of wheat flour in the world. The main consumers of Kazakh wheat are located in Asia, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and China. On the other hand, main customers of Turkish wheat flour are Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Angola, and Somalia. It is worth highlighting that despite being self-sufficient in wheat production, Turkey continued to import wheat, especially from Russia for milling due to the low quality of locally produced wheat.


Key challenges the OIC member states face are:

- Soil degradation;
- Rising temperatures, severe weather conditions, and decreasing water availability;
- Rapid population growth;
- Poor mechanization and high production cost;
- Inadequate or weak policy environment;
- Low funding of the national agricultural research and extension institutions;
- Lack of investment in infrastructures such as roads, storage, and market facilities;
- Poor access to improved varieties/seeds.


The overall objective of the OIC Programme of Action for Development of Wheat is to ensure self-sufficiency in wheat in the medium term and to export to the regional and international markets in the long term.

Specific objectives
- Increasing domestic wheat production to progressively reduce import dependence;
- Increasing the share of OIC countries in global wheat exports.

- Achieving self-sufficiency in wheat;
- Increasing production of wheat through the use of modern technologies, including high-grade wheat seedlings;
- Contributing to eliminating poverty;
- Generating employment in rural communities.


Implementation of the OIC Programme of Action for Development of Wheat will be accomplished through the incorporation of the agreed objectives in the national strategies for the development of wheat.

In order to fast-track the formulation of projects and their effective implementation under the OIC Programme of Action for Development of Wheat, a Steering Committee comprising OIC member states, which are interested in value chain development of wheat, and relevant OIC institutions will be established. It is envisaged that the above Committee will hold regular meetings, with the objective of reviewing the progress made in the implementation of the OIC Programme of Action, identifying priorities and new opportunities for the development of wheat sector, as well as approving projects. In addition, a Project Committee comprising the project-owners and financing partners will also be established. The main task of the Project committee will be monitoring and ensuring the efficient implementation of the approved projects.