IRAQ – Iraq has achieved wheat self-sufficiency for the 2023 season, with supply exceeding expectations, according to a recent announcement by Trade Minister Atheer Daoud Al-Ghurairy.

This milestone marks a significant achievement for Iraq, as it attains self-sufficiency in wheat production, eliminating the need for imports to maintain its strategic stocks.

Al-Ghurairy emphasized Iraq’s newfound capability to meet its wheat demands locally, highlighting a shift from dependence on imports.

He stated that Iraq’s decision to forgo wheat imports this year is bolstered by the ample reserves, equivalent to seven months’ worth of consumption, with expectations of a bumper crop.

According to the Minister, the Iraqi government has allocated financial support for farmers and crops in the general budget law. This support has contributed to the successful wheat harvest, allowing Iraq to produce more than 5 million tons of wheat this year.

Mithaq Abdul Hussein Al-Khafaji, the Deputy Minister had previously underscored the nation’s annual wheat requirement, estimated to range between 4.5 million and 5 million tons to feed its population of 43 million people.

However, this year’s surplus is particularly noteworthy amidst challenges posed by water scarcity and desertification, exacerbated by the country’s worst recorded drought.

The ministry underscores that the huge yield produced in 2023 reflects the shift towards cultivating wheat in desert areas using groundwater instead of Iraq’s decreasing river water, as the country is going through the worst drought recorded in its history.

Iraq was self-sufficient in wheat during the three years before the war in Ukraine, with production of 4.7 million tons in 2019, 6.2 million tons in 2020, and about 4.2 million tons in 2021.

However, challenges such as water scarcity and desertification gradually eroded local wheat production, resulting in a decline to around three million tons in the previous season.

This prompted the government to import wheat to bridge the shortfall.

Iraq’s success in achieving self-sufficiency in wheat not only ensures food security but also signifies resilience and adaptability in agricultural practices amidst evolving climatic challenges.

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