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.

Iraq has reportedly bought 1.75 million tonnes of domestic wheat so far this season.

According to the report from Reuters, the is well below a trade ministry’s target of 2.5 million tonnes.

The wheat purchasing season began on 16th April and is expected to last until the end of June.

(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.

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.

Turkish engineering company Alapala has recently completed a turnkey flour mill project, one in Baghdad.

The facility, located on 6,000 square meters of land, has two lines with capacity of 250 tpd each, for a total of 500 tpd of hard and semi-hard wheat milling capacity.

The six-story concrete mill is one of a limited number of wheat milling facilities in the region that is fully automated, including the packaging section. The PLC controlled facility has remote management and management information system.

(Source: World Grain)

Emergency fertilizer distributions help conflict-affected Iraqi farmers increase wheat production

More than 2 000 farmers affected by conflict in Iraq have received 750 tonnes of fertilizer from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to increase production of their winter wheat crops.

The farmers, from Alqosh and Sheikan districts of Ninewa Governorate each received 350 kilograms of fertilizer, half of which will be used now for planting and the other half in spring to boost the wheat’s growth.

Since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took parts of Iraq’s wheat belt in 2014, farmers have struggled to either access or afford fertilizer and other agricultural inputs, due to challenges that include restricted access to markets, the high cost of inputs, and the effect of conflict on Iraq’s Government, resulting in delayed payments to farmers for previous crops.

“The shortage of fertilizer has been a challenge for us. We can’t afford to buy it,” said local farmer Seve Kheder Slo, who grows wheat with her husband on their small farm to support their seven children. “We just planted our winter wheat crop and we’ll use this fertilizer straight away. It will support the crop to grow more than it would otherwise.”

With nearly one-third of Iraqis requiring humanitarian assistance, food security remains one of the most worrying aspects of the crisis in Iraq. Some 77 percent of Iraq’s 2.9 million food insecure people are women, children or elderly.

“When farmers can no longer access or afford inputs like fertilizer and pesticides, their crops, should they be able to plant them at all, are unlikely to thrive,” said Dr Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Representative in Iraq. “Since 2014, this is one of the factors that has contributed to countrywide cereal shortages and a sharp rise in the cost of basic food commodities in Iraq.

“Restoring people’s ability to farm and trade in conflict-affected communities is not only important for food security, but also for building peace and prosperity in the country,” he said.

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)