The initial focus of AMIS is on four grains that are particularly important in international food markets, namely wheat, maize, rice and soybeans. Uniting G20 members (and Spain) plus seven major producers, consumers and exporters of agricultural commodities, AMIS participating countries represent a large share of global production, consumption and trade volumes of those four crops, typically in the range of 80-90 percent.
Wheat is one of the first cereals known to have been domesticated. Its origin can be traced back to at least 11,000 years ago in the Nile Delta and Mesopotamia. There are several domesticated wheat varieties, including hybrids, but most often the distinction is made between soft and hard (durum) wheat.
Soft wheat is by far the most important for production. It is used for food preparations, but lower quality supplies are commonly destined to feed and, in recent years, also for the production of bio-ethanol. With much smaller production volumes, hard wheat is largely used as ingredient for producing semolina and pasta. A number of countries grow two wheat crops per year: the winter wheat and spring wheat crops, named after the period of their planting.
Global production of wheat averaged about 670 million tonnes in 2010-2012, with close to half of the world output coming from the European Union, China and India. Overall, AMIS countries accounted for 87 percent of the total. About 136 million tonnes of wheat (including wheat flour) were traded internationally in the same period, of which some 96 percent were exported by AMIS countries. AMIS countries accounted for a much smaller share of world wheat imports.