Iraq’s wheat harvest exceeded 3 million tons in 2012

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By Adel Kadhem

Azzaman, February 15, 2013

There has been a substantial surge in Iraq’s wheat produce in the years since 2003, when a U.S.-led coalition invaded the country.

Wheat harvest had dwindled to an average 1.5 million tons in the years since the invasion, turning the country into a net importer of wheat and other cereals.

But last year, despite little rain, the country’s farmers shipped 3.26 million tons to state silos.

The Ministry of Agriculture was upbeat, saying its policies to revamp the country’s farming were paying off.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Mahdi al-Qaisi said raising cereal production in Iraq was a top priority.

“The cultivation of wheat is witnessing marked improvement with volume rising to 3.26 million tons in 2012 from 1.7 million tons,” he said.

Qaisi said the ministry’s gift to Iraqi farmers in return for the hike in wheat production was a discount of 50%  on all irrigation-related equipment.

Iraq’s wheat consumption is currently estimated at 5 million tons a year.