By John Lee.

The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has announced a loan of 1 trillion Iraqi dinars ($843 million) to the state-run Grain Board of Iraq, which is affiliated to the Iraqi Ministry of Commerce.

According to a press release, the loan is an effort to help Iraqi farmers for clear their dues and payments in accordance with the announcement made by the Iraqi Prime Minister recently under the government’s strategy aimed to support the Iraqi economy.

This initiative, which supports the agricultural sector, is aimed at enhancing production capacity and contributing to the sustainable development of the sector, which is a fundamental pillar of the Iraqi economy.

(Source: TBI)

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.

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.

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.

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 John Lee.

Iraq reportedly bought 50,000 tonnes wheat from Australia on Sunday at $312.50 a tonne c&f free out.

The tender, which  closed on 31st July, was open to wheat from the United States, Canada or Australia.

According to Reuters‘ sources. wheat from the United States was offered lowest at $299.19 a tonne c&f free out, and there were no offers for Canadian wheat.

(Source: Reuters)

Iraq has reporteldy made its first-ever purchase of US rice under the US–Iraq Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

According to the USA Rice Federation, this sale will help American rice exporters gain a foothold in the Iraqi market, and help prospects for new sales in the future.

Iraq’s precedent-setting purchase of 30,000 MT of US long grain milled rice comes after more than 16 months without any Iraqi purchases of U.S. rice.

We are very pleased to see that Iraq has stepped up to meet its commitment to purchase U.S. rice under this agreement,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “This could not have come at a better time for the U.S. rice industry, and we are grateful for the cooperation of the Iraqi Grain Board (IGB) and the Ministry of Trade (MOT).

The 30,000 MT sale for July delivery was awarded to Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), and comes almost a full year since the MOU was negotiated between the MOT and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Hugh Maginnis, USA Rice vice president international, said

The USA Rice team, including our local office in Iraq, worked hand-in-glove with Congress, the State Department, and USDA over the last year to keep the pressure on, ensuring that Iraq follows through on its commitment to purchase competitively-priced U.S. grown rice under this MOU.

“We appreciate the teamwork and persistence of so many people who contributed to this successful sale.  This gives our rice farmers a very welcome shot in the arm.

(Source: USA Rice Federation)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s acting trade minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, has reportedly sacked the head of the powerful Grain Board of Iraq and six other officials over allegations of corruption.

Reuters quotes ministry sources as saying that the move was part of a comprehensive operation intended to “cleanse the ministry of officials who have any hint of corruption.

The board is responsible for sourcing grain internationally and from Iraqi farmers, making it one of the world’s biggest importers of wheat and rice.

Some trade officials and their deputies were replaced after they were found to be unqualified for their positions, a ministry statement said.

Authorities recently issued an arrest warrant for then Trade Minister Milas Mohamed Abdul Kareem following a corruption investigation. A court also summoned Abdul Kareem and eight other ministry officials for questioning over claims of illicit gains made from the purchase of Uruguayan rice.

Abdul Kareem, whose current whereabouts are unknown, has said the allegations are not based on solid evidence.

(Source: Reuters)

(Corruption image via Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

European traders said on Monday that Russian wheat was offered lowest at $231.00 a tonne c&f free out in the tender from Iraq’s state grains board to buy at least 50,000 tonnes of hard wheat for shipment between 15th August and 13th September and delivery between 14th September and 28th October.

According to a report from Reuters, the tender closed on Sunday and offers must remain valid up to 18th June 18.

Russian wheat was also reportedly offered at $233.00 and $236.50 a tonne c&f free out, with one offer for US wheat at $285.42 a tonne c&f free out; the lowest offer for Australian origin was $267.50 c&f free out and the lowest from Canada was $266.00 a tonne c&f free out.

Iraq plans to become a net exporter of wheat by 2017.

(Source: Reuters)

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)