Iraq has enough wheat and rice until end of 2019 -grain board
BAGHDAD, June 13 (Reuters) - Iraq has enough wheat and rice
to last until the end of the year, although it will continue to
import to boost its reserves, the head of its state grain board
said on Thursday.
Naeem al-Maksousi said local wheat purchases could reach 4
million tonnes by the end of the season in August as more
rainfall had boosted the local crop. It has imported around
400,000 tonnes so far this year, and so has enough wheat for
consumption until the end of the year.
Iraq, a major Middle East grain importer, needs between 4.5
million and 5 million tonnes of wheat a year and on average
imports about 2 million tonnes.
It has bought 2.65 million tonnes of local wheat since the
start of the local season in mid-April, already exceeding last
year's total purchases of around 2.17 million tonnes.
Iraq had expected to produce only 3 million tonnes in 2019
but better rainfall provided more fertile land to grow the crop
outside of the areas originally planned.
"We will continue to purchase globally, though, for our
reserves," Maksousi told Reuters in an interview.
Rains provided relief for farmers in Iraq after they
struggled with water shortages over the past year.
The state grain board is responsible for imports of wheat
and rice for the country's food rationing programme.
Maksousi said the board bought 700,000 tonnes of rice this
year, enough for consumption needs until the end of the year.
Only limited rice planting was allowed this season locally
as part of a water conservation policy.
(Reporting by Maha El Dahan and Moayed Kenany; Editing by Mark
Potter and Susan Fenton)
© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.