Iraq’s rice yields barely enough for 20 days

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By Khaula al-Ukaili

Azzaman, February 12, 2014

Iraq’s rice yields are hardly enough to cover 20 days of domestic consumption, the Ministry of Trade has said in a statement.

“Rice harvest last year (2103) was 85,000 tones. The volume could only cover 20 days of the country’s total needs,” the statement said.

The statement said the volume was close to what the country harvested in 2012.

However, the rice harvest shows that Iraq will remain a major food importer of grains in the world for years to come.

The yields show that the country needs to import more than 1 million tons of rice to meet domestic consumption.

It will be extremely hard for Iraqi farmers to increase rice output due to lack of water and higher levels of salinity in the south where most of the country’s harvest comes.

Iraq’s domestic needs for wheat are estimated at more than 4 million tons a year. Last year the country harvested about 2 million tons of wheat, a record in more than a decade.

The country’s food import bill costs the treasury billions of dollars every year.