Iraq to plant 550,000 hectares with wheat for winter season: official

Farmers scatter wheat seeds on a field in the Makhmour district, southeast of Mosul, Jan. 8, 2015. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Iraqi agriculture ministry said it was planning to plant 550,000 hectares with wheat for the 2021-2022 winter crop season.

Undersecretary of the agriculture ministry Mahdi al-Jabouri told Reuters that the quantity was down 50 percent from a year earlier.

Iraq expects to produce more than 350,000 tons of rice from the 2020-2021 crop, the same as a year earlier, Jabouri said.

He further said the harvest would begin in November.

On Sunday, the agriculture ministry said it would reduce its 2021-2022 winter crop planting area by 50% due to a water shortage.

The available water in dams and reservoirs can only irrigate around 250,000 hectares of land, it added.

Iraq has water shortages due to low rainfalls and restriction of water flows from Iran and Turkey.

The two neighboring countries are holding back water to fill reservoirs, a step that has alarmed Iraq and caused shortages in the country.

Iraq is mostly desert. Its inhabitable areas are fed by the Tigris from Turkey, the Euphrates from Turkey and Syria, and a network of rivers from Iran.

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