July 8, 2008


Drought slashes Iraq's wheat harvest to just 500,000 tonnes

The amount of wheat shipped so far by Iraqi local farmers to state silos dropped 34 percent to 500,000 tonnes, from 670,000 for the same period last year, the country's trade ministry said Monday 9(July 7, 2008).


The ministry attributed the decrease in domestic wheat production to drought that hit Iraq and neighboring countries. Traders also blamed the fall on the difficulty of distributing fertilizers, pesticides and seeds to local farmers because of the deteriorating security situation.


The ministry also said state silos had received only 9,000 tonnes of barley during the same period without saying how much the figure was last year.


Iraq meets the shortfall in wheat through imports mainly from the US, Canada and Australia. The ministry said its 2008 wheat imports could reach up to 4.5 million tonnes.

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