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)

By John Lee.

Iraq has agreed to buy 90,000 metric tons of rice from the United States.

US Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said in a statement:

“Iraq is buying three times more rice than we requested in our letter, so I’m thrilled that this resulted in such a successful sale.  A purchase of this great amount will have an immediate and strong impact on the American rice market, and this is certainly a testament to American rice producers, who grow the best rice in the world.”

Dr. Abraham said he has led several letters to Iraq over the last few years advocating for US rice, adding that the most recent success was in August when Iraq purchased 15,000 metric tons from the United States.

(Source: Congressman Ralph Abraham)

By John Lee.

Iraq is expected to significantly increase its imports of wheat, as it reportedly cuts the irrigated area it plants with wheat by half in the 2018-2019 growing season due to the continuing water shortages.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Mahdi al-Qaisi told Reuters:

“The shortage of water resources, climate change and drought are the main reasons behind this decision, our expectation is the area will shrink to half.”

The country already imports more than one million tonnes of wheat per year, with annual demand of around 4.5 to 5.0 million tonnes.

Full report here.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Despite this year’s drought, Iraq has reportedly bought more than 300,000 tonnes of domestic wheat this season, and maintained its estimate of 2.5 million tonnes of local purchases for the 2018 season.

According to Reuters, this implies an import gap of 2 million tonnes, as the country uses between 4.5 million and 5 million tonnes of wheat annually.

Iraq typically buys wheat of US, Canadian and Australian origin.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Saudi Arabian food producer Goody has signed an agreement to become the first Saudi food firm to supply the Iraqi market in nearly 30 years.

The Jeddah-based company plans to supply pasta, dates, chilled coffee, burgers, tuna and canned fruits to Iraq.

It is part of the Basamh Trading and Industries Group.

(Source: Goody)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s state grains board has reportedly bought about 100,000 tonnes of hard wheat in a tender which closed last week.

50,000 tonnes is to be sourced from the United States at $332.17 a tonne c&f free out, with 50,000 tonnes from Australia at $309.95 a tonne c&f free out.

(Source: UkrAgroConsult)

By John Lee.

Iran is said to be negotiating a deal to import around 100,000 tonnes of wheat per month from Russia, enabling private millers it to increase flour exports to Iraq.

Iraq imports about 3 million tons of flour a year, almost half of its demand of 6.9 million tons a year.

According to a report from Reuters, private millers in Iran are not allowed to use domestic wheat for flour exports.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Iranian flour millers are operating at 50 percent of capacity.

(Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters)

By John Lee.

Iraq has reportedly bought U.S. hard red winter wheat in a direct deal outside the tender process.

Sources told Reuters that the product will be supplied by Cargill (300,000 tonnes) and ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) (150,000 tonnes).

Separtely, private exporters reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture export sales of 100,000 metric tons of hard red winter wheat for delivery to Iraq during the 2017/2018 marketing year (The marketing year for wheat began June 1.).

(Sources: Reuters, U.S. Department of Agriculture)

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. 

The Tureibil crossing, or more commonly known as the Karameh border crossing, between Jordan and Iraq reopened in early September in tandem with the opening of another border crossing with Saudi Arabia. This means that more foreign goods are likely to flow into the Iraqi market, which already lacks national products, especially food and agricultural goods.

The prospects for increased imports, which is not good news for the local production industry in Iraq, prompted parliament’s Agriculture, Water and Marshlands Committee on Aug. 14 to accuse the Ministry of Agriculture of mismanagement and confusion in supporting these foreign goods, which caused the local market to become flooded with imported products.

Mohammed Mansouri, an expert on local livestock, warns against “a catastrophe in the sector of livestock and agriculture in Iraq,” urging the government to work “on achieving food security.”

However, the failure of agricultural projects in Iraq is not only the result of poor planning and management, but also a “corrupt agenda seeking to keep this sector lagging so as to continue relying on imports,” said Ali al-Badiri, a member of the Agriculture, Water and Marshlands Committee, in a media statement Aug. 24. “Impeding the cultivation of wheat crops is a conspiracy, as this cultivation has become a threat to the investments of the corrupted,” he said.

In the same vein, Suhaila Abbas, the head of the Agriculture Committee of the Babil Governorate Council, told Al-Monitor, “Linking food security to importation is not due to technical problems such as drought or the rudimentary irrigation and land treatments techniques, as these can be addressed through development plans. This is, however, due to political reasons. Many of Iraq’s neighbors have an interest in keeping Iraq unable to become self-sufficient in terms of food, so it continues importing food products.”