Iraq surpasses wheat self-sufficiency goal, eyes strategic stockpile build: Minister

Iraq surpasses wheat self-sufficiency goal, eyes strategic stockpile build: Minister

Shafaq News/ Iraq has exceeded its wheat self-sufficiency target for 2024, Trade Minister Atheer al-Ghurayri announced on Sunday, saying it will help the country achieve food security and reduce reliance on imports.

A successful season in nine central and southern governorates saw production surpass domestic needs, allowing Iraq to build its strategic reserves of the essential grain, the minister added.

"We've concluded the marketing season for wheat in nine governorates, and I'm pleased to announce that Iraq has not only achieved self-sufficiency but surpassed initial targets," al-Ghurayri said in a statement.

This accomplishment underlines the government's commitment to supporting agriculture and empowering Iraqi farmers, he noted.

Iraq, with a population of more than 43 million, requires between 4.5 million and 5.0 million tons of wheat per year, according to estimates by the agriculture ministry.

Haider al-Karawi, Director-General of the state-owned Grain Trade Company, echoed the minister’s remarks, highlighting the "remarkable success" of the 2024 wheat marketing plan in central and southern Iraq.

"The average yield increase for local wheat compared to last year is around 21%, a testament to the collective efforts of our farmers and supportive government policies," al-Karawi said. “Favorable weather, improved farming practices, and government initiatives promoting irrigation systems and access to quality seeds and fertilizers all contributed to this production rise.”

Baghdad is seeking to be more self-sufficient in wheat, despite dwindling water supplies in its rivers, by shifting to growing crops in desert areas using ground water.

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