By John Lee.
Iraq's Trade Minister, Khayrulla Hassan [Khayri-allah Babakir, Dr Khairallah Hassan Babiker] (pictured) has said that 100,000 tons more of wheat will be produced in Iraq than in 2011.
According to the report from AKnews, 1.75 million tons of wheat were produced last year, and this is expected to rise to 1.85 million tons this year, an increase of only 5.4 percent.
The minister said that reports claiming that wheat production has fallen are propaganda by businessmen to increase prices.
He said that in the Kurdistan Region wheat production has been low, but in the other Iraqi provinces it has been higher.
Regarding barley, he said that due to the price at which the government purchases barley from farmers, production "is low every year. Iraq needs 400,000 tons of barley but half of the demand is purchased from abroad."
The Ministry of Trade purchases each ton of local wheat at 720,000 IQD (approx. $576) and a ton of barely at 520,000 IQD ($416).
The minister said this year some 4 billion IQD ($3.2m) was allocated to purchasing the local wheat and barley and all the payments have been issued.
Bloomberg reports that Iraq bought 150,000 metric tons of Russian wheat in a recent tender.
(Sources: AKnews, Bloomberg)