Iraq Growing Half its Grain Needs

The Iraqi Agriculture Ministry revealed Sunday that Iraq is producing 50% of the wheat the country requires.

The ministry's spokesman, Karim al-Tamimi, told AKnews,  "Iraq currently produces only two million tonnes of wheat due to lack of water needed for cultivation as well as the migration of many farmers from villages to cities."

"The Ministry of Agriculture is working to develop a plan to organize the usage of water sprinklers and irrigation which will improve the rate of production of wheat during the next season."

Specialists in water resources affairs stated that Iraq is one of the most wasteful countries in terms of water usage because of its old irrigation mechanisms.

The Ministry of Water Resources had confirmed that the main obstacle that hinders strategic projects is financial allocations that do not fit with the plans and projects developed by the ministry. In December it started preparing a strategic study in collaboration with global companies to determine the future of water in Iraq until 2044.

The availability of water in Iraq is about 50 billion cubic meters, 60% of which from Tigris River and the rest from Euphrates, as well as energy storage in dams and tanks totalling 149 billion cubic meters, while its water needs are expected to reach about 77 billion cubic meters by 2015.

Despite the rainfall over the past few days, Iraq still suffers from drought due to lack of rainfall for more than two years, in addition to the low water levels in rivers within Iraq, particularly from the Tigris and Euphrates.

Iraq accuses Turkey and Syria of being responsible for low water levels in rivers entering it because of their irrigation and agricultural project.

The Ministry of Water Resources stressed on the need to convert oral water agreements with Iran and Turkey to formal agreements to save the country's share of water.

(Source: AKnews)

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