By John Lee.
A new report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that continued drought and water shortages are affecting economic activity in Iraq, especially grain production.
The Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service says agricultural cropping in irrigated areas is down by 50 percent compared to last year due to shortages in surface water.
As a result, wheat production is expected to be 3.25 million metric tons, much less than previous seasons, which will drive up imports.
Sharp increases in the price of food items and agriculture inputs in local and international markets, in addition to the devaluation of the Iraqi Dinar and the lifting of agricultural subsidies, add to the constraints on production.