By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Minister of Trade Mohammed Hashim al-Ani announced July 5 that the ministry received about 4 million tons of local wheat, a step that signals the country is ready to achieve self-sufficiency in this strategic crop.

This comes despite the fires that hit agricultural fields across Iraq and ravaged 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares) of land.

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By Fehim Tastekin for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Turkish exporters are reeling from an unprecedented blow in trade with Iraq that has splashed cold water on Ankara’s hopes to launch a second border crossing with its southern neighbor and boost bilateral trade to $20 billion.

In a series of steps since May, touted as an effort to promote domestic production, the Iraqi government has restricted food imports from Turkey, including in major categories such as eggs and beverages.

Turkey’s business community suspects that there are political factors behind the move, including the role of non-market actors harming competition, pressure from companies linked to the ruling partners in Baghdad and the influence of Iran.

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By John Lee.

Baghdad has reportedly banned the import of table salt, noodles and pasta from Turkey.

This follows import bans on eggs and ice cream imposed earlier this year.

According to Daily Sabah, the ban will take effect after 60 days and will remain in force for a year.

(Source: Daily Sabah)

By John Lee.

Local wheat production in Iraq could reach almost 3 million tonnes in the 2018-2019 season, up from 2.17 million tonnes in the previous year, according to Reuters.

While the total area of wheat planted using irrigation has fallen from one million hectares in the 2017-2018 season to 550,000 hectares this season, better rainfall will account for the increased production.

This is expected will cover 60 percent of the needs of Iraq’s food rationing programme, which needs between 4.5 million to 5 million tonnes of wheat annually.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Iraqi Kurdistan poultry industry is reported to have dramatically increased over the last five years.

Haider Farhan, head of Kurdistan Region’s poultry industry high council, told Rudaw that there are now 2,000 chicken farms in the Kurdistan Region, producing nearly 190 tons of meat annually.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

By John Lee.

Iraqi trade minister Mohammed Hashim has reportedly signed a deal on Thursday to import wheat and rice from the United States.

According to Reuters, the agreement covers the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, Kurdistan 24 reports that a Russian delegation visited Baghdad this week to discuss exporting wheat to Iraq.

(Sources: Reuters, Kurdistan 24)

By John Lee.

A former Minister for Trade and two former State Directors of the Ministry have been sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison for corruption.

A statement from Iraq’s Commission of Integrity said the three committed offenses in two contracts between the State Company for Trading Grain and a company supplying basmati rice, with “damage to public money in the two contracts” of $14.3 million.

Middle East Online names the former minister as Malas Abdulkarim al-Kasnazani [Mlas Mohammed Al-Kasanzan] (pictured), who was dismissed from Haider al-Abadi’s cabinet in 2015.

(Sources: Commission of Integrity, Middle East Online)

By John Lee.

Iraq reportedly wants to allow Russian-origin wheat to be bought in its state tenders to supply the country’s massive food rationing programme.

According to Reuters, the Trade Ministry will send a delegation to Russia before the end of the year to study the suitability of its wheat for Iraq’s needs.

Iraq needs between 4.5 million and five million tonnes of wheat annually, of which about two million tonnes is imported.

(Source: Reuters)