New report from FAO, IFAD, WFP and the World Bank reveals complex impact of COVID-19 on food security in Iraq

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Bank have collected and analyzed new data on the impact of the crisis on food security, and made corresponding joint recommendations in the first report of a new regular series, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security in Iraq.”

Many people have been unable to work during the current crisis. Around 4.8 million people (12% of the total population) are using negative coping strategies to meet their food needs, and a large stimulus package will be required to re-start the economy, beyond the current measures to mitigate the impact on households and businesses.

On the other hand, food availability has been stable overall, with above-average cereal production in the 2019/2020 season, and the government of Iraq taking a proactive role to keep the food system open despite lockdowns. Food imports have continued, with global trade largely uninterrupted.

Humanitarian, social protection and development responses have stepped up, both from the government (such as “Minha” – “Grant”) and supporting partners. However, global trends have had a cascading impact on Iraq. The fall in oil prices and the slow recovery of the global oil market have had negative implications for the domestic budget, and may affect the government’s ability to continue to fund social protection programmes and agriculture subsidies.

With assistance from Food Security Cluster partners and the Cash Consortium of Iraq, FAO, IFAD, WFP and the World Bank analyzed food availability and access, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations, and jointly made policy recommendations.

“With initiatives to work towards a regional trade integration framework, create an enabling environment for increasing domestic production, invest in productive infrastructure, enhance social protection and monitor food security, vulnerable households can continue to have access to nutritious food. All possible efforts will be made to support the government of Iraq and implement the proposed recommendations,” said FAO Representative in Iraq Dr Salah El Hajj Hassan, IFAD Representative for Iraq Tarek Ahmed, WFP Iraq Representative Abdirahman Meygag, and World Bank Iraq Representative Ramzi Neman, in a joint statement.

The new publication builds on the partners’ weekly reports on COVID-19 and food security, which launched in April and continue to be released.

Download a copy of the new report at: https://bit.ly/2VDbH3a

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The Minister of Industry and Minerals, Dr. Saleh Abdullah Al-Jubouri, has said Iraq is determined to achieve self-sufficiency in “various dairy products“.

He made the comments during a visit to the Abu Ghraib Dairy Factory, which is operated by the Ministry’s General Company for Food Products.

The plant has recently been expanded, with the addition of new production lines.

(Source: Ministry of Industry and Minerals)

By John Lee.

The Minister of Industry and Minerals, Dr. Saleh Abdullah Al-Jubouri, has said Iraq is determined to achieve self-sufficiency in “various dairy products“.

He made the comments during a visit to the Abu Ghraib Dairy Factory, which is operated by the Ministry’s General Company for Food Products.

The plant has recently been expanded, with the addition of new production lines.

(Source: Ministry of Industry and Minerals)

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.

Click here to read the full article.

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Etihad Food Industries will reportedly start production at its new $100-million edible oils refinery in Babylon by the end of the year.

Commercial Director Haidar Alnoumany told Reuters that the company started building the infrastructure two months ago, and when in production it will source crude (edible) oil from many origins like Argentina, Ukraine, Russia and the United States.

The refinery will process corn oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, and palm oil, and aims to cover the needs of Iraq’s trade ministry (around 456,000 tonnes a year) and the domestic private market.

It will have a capacity of 3,000 tonnes a day with a refined oil storage capacity of 90,000 tonnes.

The plant is close to the company’s sugar refining plant, which started production last year and ramped up faster than expected, reducing the country’s dependence on white sugar imports.

(Source: Reuters)

(Cooking oil image via Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The new Etihad sugar refinery in Babylon said on Thursday it had imported 850,000 tonnes of raw sugar since the start of operations earlier this year, according to a report from Reuters.

The plant, which is currently operating close to full capacity of around 3,000 tonnes a day, will see expansion work start in 2017 to double capacity.

Mustafa Jaber, executive assistant for Etihad Food Industries, told the news agency that Iraq consumes around 900,000 tonnes of white sugar a year, “which means we are reaching self-sufficiency … [the expansion] will be to cater for increasing domestic consumption and for exports.”

(Source: Reuters)

(Sugar image via Shutterstock)

Trade confirm the existence of stocks strategically food is the country’s famine The Ministry of Commerce, on Wednesday, that the report Karbinge Institute of Peace inaccurate, pointing to the existence of large stocks strategically food is the country’s famine. The…

Trade confirm the existence of stocks strategically food is the country’s famine The Ministry of Commerce, on Wednesday, that the report Karbinge Institute of Peace inaccurate, pointing to the existence of large stocks strategically food is the country’s famine. The…

By John Lee.

The general manager of the Grain Board of Iraq, Saad al Hamdinee, has reportedly told a conference in London that Iraq is expected to produce 3.5 million tonnes of wheat this year.

According to a report from Reuters, he said this was in accordance to our plans put in place over the last two years to improve the country’s self sufficiency.

Bloomberg reports that Iraq is in talks with international inspection companies about the classification of locally grown wheat for sale overseas, as it intends to become a net exporter of wheat by 2017.

No details were provided about how it plans to achieve this increase; Iraq currently consumes 4.5-to-4.6 million tonnes of wheat a year, and has lost about 1.7 million tonnes/year of capacity to the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL).

(Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg)

(Wheat image via Shutterstock)

 

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Let Them Eat Bread: ISIS Extremists In Mosul Iraq Ban Grain Exports, Ensure Food Security

The northern Iraqi province of Ninawa is one of the country’s best producers of cereals and grains. And now the extremist group known as the Islamic State is making good use of the province’s potential; the Islamic State, or IS, group has been in control of large parts of the province since last June, including the provincial capital, Mosul.

The extremist group has issued instructions to local farmers that they should give 10 percent of their total production to the IS group. The IS group classify this payment as a kind of religious tax they describe as “zakat”, a payment that was traditionally a sort of combination donation and tax made to the church.

This is why now, whenever local farmers are involved in harvesting, a member of the IS group or what locals describe as one of the IS group’s “ghosts”, or spies, is present to ensure that the correct percentage of harvest is set aside.

“When there is nobody there, the collection of the IS group’s share is the responsibility of the combine drivers,” Ahmed al-Fattah*, a member of a family that has been farming in this area for decades, told NIQASH. “And the shadow of the IS group is always hanging over us so we don’t trust anyone. That’s why paying a share to the IS group is unavoidable.”