The Director General of Iraq's Grain Board expects wheat production to fall by 16 percent to 1.5 million metric tons this year because of drought, forcing the country to boost imports to 3 million tons.
“Unfortunately, there is a drought this year in the northern provinces,” Ibrahim told Bloomberg. “Last year production was around 1.78 million tons. This year we expect it to be between 1.5 and 1.6 million tons.”
Iraq consumes 4.5 million tons of wheat and 1.25 million tons of rice a year, he said.
The government is planning tenders to import 50,000 tons of wheat this week and 30,000 tons of rice next week, he said. “Wheat prices are suitable. World wheat production is abundant.”
Iraq is buying wheat from farmers at 720,000 dinars ($618) a ton, more than double international prices, in an effort to reduce dependence on imports.
The nation has diversified the origins of the rice it is importing to include Argentina, Uruguay and Thailand in addition to the U.S., he said. U.S. rice prices are the “highest,” according to Ibrahim.