Azzaman reports that Iraqi rice yields have dropped to 108,000 tons from an average 200,000 tons it used to produce annually, increasing the country’s reliance on imports.
Iraq is estimated to have imported more than 1.5 million tons of rice last year.
The country’s Grain Board said the year’s rice produce has already been shipped by farmers to the country’s silos.
The traditional rice-producing provinces of Najaf, Diwaniya and Muthana have been hit by a shortage of water and increasing salinity.
Rice is one of four staple items in the country’s ration card system, the other items being flour, sugar and cooking oil – all imported from abroad.
Food imports to meet demand of the ration card system cost the treasury more than $3 billion a year.