Iraq’s wheat stockpiles don’t exceed three months of consumption, says minister

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraq’s wheat stockpiles do not exceed three months of consumption, the county’s agriculture minister said on Tuesday.

Minister Mohammed Mahdi al-Khafaji said he expected this year’s wheat harvest to reach three millions tons, down 500,000 tons from last year, according to the official Iraq news agency.

The ministry “is planning to increase it in the next agricultural season so as to reach self-sufficiency,” he was quoted as saying.

Iraq is a major Middle East grain importer and needs between 4.5 million and 5 million tons of wheat a year to supply its massive food rationing programme.

The country said it had taken urgent measures to secure strategic stocks of wheat and support a local food subsidies program in the light of recent Ukraine-Russia crisis and its impact on food security.

Earlier this month, Iraq’s minister of trade said the country would allocate $100 million to urgently purchase wheat and to create a strategic reserve by importing three million tons of the grain, as food prices are rising due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine export about a quarter of the world’s wheat and half of its sunflower products, like seeds and oil, according to BBC. Ukraine also sells a lot of corn globally.

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