Iraq could meet half of wheat demand in 2011
Baghdad, February 3, 2011
Increased rainfall could help Iraq meet half of the country's needs for wheat in 2011, a deputy agriculture minister said.
Iraq, one of the world's biggest grain importers, will need about 4.5 million tonnes of wheat this year, the official, Subhi al-Jumaily, told Reuters.
'We could reach 50 per cent of Iraq's needs for wheat,' al-Jumaily said, citing higher rainfall for the optimistic outlook.
'It is an indication that the coming season will be good in comparison to the drought years Iraq has gone through,' he said. 'It's a reason for optimism, knowing that the rains have covered all parts of Iraq.'
Iraq's farmers sold 1.866 million tonnes of wheat to the government grain board in 2009/2010, up from 1.25 million tonnes the previous season, officials said last year.
Iraq's population of around 30 million consumes at least 4.5 million tonnes of wheat and one million tonnes of rice annually.
Decades of war, sanctions and strife have decimated Iraq's agricultural sector, which has gone from being an important grain producer to a leading importer. Much of the imported wheat and rice goes to feed a huge public food ration programme. – Reuters