By Matthew Gayle.
According to the state-run Grain Board of Iraq, over 5.4 million tons of food were imported into Iraq last year to cover the state-run food rationing system that was originally initiated in 1990.
The system food rationing system was put into place to help offset the impact of U.N. trade sanctions, and allowed Iraqi families free access to quantities of certain food items at almost no charge.
"We imported 2.5 million tons of wheat in 2012," said the board's chief Hassan Ismael. Ismael added that annual imports of wheat are usually higher, but domestic wheat yields were high last year with government silos receiving 1.8 million tons from Iraqi farmers.
Ismael also pointed out that Iraq imported 1 million tons of rice, 800 million tons of sugar, 500,000 tons of baby milk formula and 600 tons of cooking oil.
The volume of food imports referred to by Ismael does not represent the food shipments into Iraq by the private sector.