May 30, 2012
Iraq's wheat supply to fall up to 16%
Iraq is forced to boost its wheat imports to three million tonnes due to a decline in its 2012 wheat output by as much as 16% to 1.5 million tonnes caused by drought, said Grain Board Director General Hassan Ibrahim.
"Unfortunately, there is a drought this year in the northern provinces," Ibrahim said in an interview in Baghdad. "Last year production was around 1.78 million tonnes. This year we expect it to be between 1.5 and 1.6 million tonnes."
Iraq consumes 4.5 million tonnes of wheat and 1.25 million tonnes of rice a year, he said.
The government is planning tenders to import 50,000 tonnes of wheat this week and 30,000 tonnes of rice next week, he said. "Wheat prices are suitable. World wheat production is abundant."
The government is buying wheat from farmers at IQD720,000 (US$618) a tonne, more than double international prices, in an effort to reduce dependence on imports, he said.
The nation has diversified the origins of the rice it is importing to include Argentina, Uruguay and Thailand in addition to the US, he said. US rice prices are the "highest," according to Ibrahim.