Government Slashes Iraqi Farmers’ Subsidies

The government has slashed subsidies to Iraqi wheat and barley growers, fuelling farmers’ anger across the county.

Director-General of Iraq’s Grain Board, Hassan Ibrahim said the prices the government paid for wheat and barley were much higher than those prevalent on international markets.

This year, wheat growers will get 650,000 Iraqi dinars ($500) instead of 850,000 dinars ($650) they received last year for each ton shipped to government silos.

Barley growers’ prices have been cut to 450,000 dinars ($350) from 650,000 ($500).

Farmers Union says it will not remain silent. “The union has decided to stage protests against the reduction of prices on Wednesday,” Hayder Abbadi, a union leader said.

“The slump in government pricing of wheat and barley has come as a shock,” he said. “We were expecting government payment for a ton of wheat to soar to 950,000 dinars.”

Last year rainfall was well below normal with total wheat production dropping to 1.l3 million tons.

Weather conditions have improved markedly this year and farmers expect a bumper harvest, exceeding 2 million tons.

( Azzaman )

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