By John Lee.
Iraq’s wheat crop is the biggest for 30 years, according to Amer Abdulaziz, Director General of Iraq Grain Board.
Despite ‘discouraging weather conditions’ Iraqi farmers have shipped 1.9 million tons of wheat to government silos, reports Azzaman.
Bloomberg quotes planning ministry spokesman Abdul Zahra al-Hindawi as saying that Iraq’s wheat output rose 7 percent to 3 million metric tons in the 2011-12 season compared with the previous year.
The quality of the harvest was also “extremely good,” Abdul Aziz said, adding that farmers had started using modern techniques to improve their produce.
The volume falls short of Iraq’s domestic needs estimated at four million tons a year, but it indicates progress and reliance on irrigation rather than rain.
Yields in the rain-fed areas, particularly the Mosul plateau, traditionally known as Iraq’s bread basket, were very low, Abdulaziz said.
Nevertheless, the volume of barely shipped to government silos was considerably below expectations, ,with farmers preferring to sell their barley on the open market where they could fetch better prices.
A ton of barley is worth up to 700,000 Iraqi dinars (approx.. $600) while the government has set the official price at 500,000 Iraqi dinars (approx. $400).
Worldwide wheat prices are up more than 40% since June, due to drought in the United States.
(Sources: Azzaman, Bloomberg)