Iraq plans to produce 4.5 million tons of wheat, and substantial increases in other cereals, according to a report from Azzaman. This would mean the country would meet its domestic requirements of around 3.5 million tons, with a 1 million ton surplus available to export.
The Undersecretary at the Agriculture Ministry, Ghazi al-Aboudi, said the ministry was introducing new irrigation techniques that will reduce farmers' dependence on erratic rainfall.
The Ministry's agricultural bank has also been extending easy loans to farmers worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
No timeframe was given to meet this goal, but Aboudi said his ministry had already achieved “20 percent” of its strategy initiated in 2008 to reach the highly ambitious goal.
Aboudi said agriculture accounted for only 10 percent of the economy, but contrary to earlier press reports he said the country could produce more than 50 percent of its domestic needs for wheat and 28 percent for rice in 2011.
Poultry produce, he added, met 55 percent of domestic needs.