Need for imports diminished

Iraq anticipates wheat harvests of more than seven million tons this year

NEWSROOM — The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture has reached an agreement with the Ministry of Commerce to procure this year’s wheat harvest, anticipating a yield of over seven million tons across the country, including the Kurdistan Region.

This nationwide plan marks significant increase from last year’s 5 million tons.

Mohammed Khazali, spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, discussed the preparations with the Iraqi News Agency, noting that adequate facilities, including warehouses and silos, are ready for the upcoming wheat procurement season.

The Iraqi Council of Ministers issued a decision to purchase this year’s wheat from farmers at 850,000 Iraqi dinars ($649) per ton.

Khazali emphasized that all parties involved are facilitating the harvest and procurement processes to ensure timely payment to farmers.

The Ministry of Commerce officially announced the start of the 2024 marketing season for wheat from southern Iraq on April 11. However, Nawzad Sheikh Kamil, Director of Commerce at the Ministry of Trade for the Kurdistan Region, previously reported that wheat procurement had not begun in the region, citing a late harvest compared to other parts of Iraq as the primary reason for the delay.

Procurement has began in Muthanna governorate. During a press conference on April 17, Agriculture Minister Abbas Jabr Al-Maliki unveiled a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing the agricultural sector in Muthanna.

Following a visit to the Al-Samawah silo and various farms in the area, he praised the governorate’s role and contributions to the country’s overall agriculture sector. “We visited Muthanna governorate, which plays a crucial role in agriculture, and currently has land planted with wheat and other crops covering more than 400,000 dunams (98,842 acres),” Al-Maliki said.

The minister also promised enhancements to agricultural infrastructure, stating, “We will coordinate with the Ministry of Water Resources to increase the number of irrigation sprinklers allocated to the governorate, along with plans to expand rice cultivation in Muthanna and other governorates.”

Farther north, in Karbala, authorities have prepared for what is billed as this year’s unprecedented wheat harvest, allocating four sites for grain collection due to the high volumes, including a 50,000-ton capacity location in neighboring Babil governorate to manage the overflow.

The anticipated quantities could exceed 200,000 tons in Karbala.

Adel Hammadi Jasim, a member of the Wheat Marketing Committee, told 964media, “This year, we expect the marketed wheat quantities to range from 200,000 to 220,000 tons from various parts of [Karbala] governorate.”

“With the four sites operational, we expect to cover all the anticipated quantities of wheat to be marketed this year,” Jasim continued.

In Basra, the Department of Agriculture announced this year’s wheat yield is expected to exceed a record-breaking 160,000 tons.

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