November 17, 2003



Iraq as Potential Huge Market For US Feed Grains

Iraq has the potential to once again be a significant commercial market for American agricultural commodities, especially for feed grains to help a growing Iraqi poultry industry, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said on November 14. This is Veneman¡¯s point of view after she is back from a trip to Iraq to get a first-hand look at efforts to rebuild the country's farm sector following the U.S.-led war.

During the 1980s, before Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the United States sold large amounts of grains, vegetable oils, poultry and other goods to Iraq. Most of the sales were accomplished using USDA loan guarantees for Baghdad.

Speaking to a group of American farm broadcasters, Veneman said Iraq lacks feed grains for the poultry industry it wants to expand. The need for animal feed "can provide an opportunity for our farmers," Veneman said.

She did not elaborate.

Veneman said USDA will look at a range of "market development programs" to encourage American farm sales to Iraq. But she said it was still too early for some of those. Her remarks were in response to a question about whether USDA might once again allocate Iraq export credit guarantees.

Iraq is a major importer of wheat, buying about 3 million tons per year. Australia is now capturing most of those sales.

However, the U.S. wheat farmers are hoping to get their grain back into Iraqi markets next year.

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