World Grain - September 2020 - 22

COUNTRY FOCUS

Iraq wheat situation
(in 1,000 tonnes)

Iraq wheat flour imports

8,000

(in 1,000 tonnes, wheat equivalent)

7,000

3,000

6,000

2,500

5,000

2,000

4,000
3,000

1,500

2,000

1,000

1,000

500
2020-21**

2019-20*

Production

2018-19

2017-18

Imports

2016-17

2015-16

Consumption

2014-15

2013-14

0

*Estimated **Projected

"The wheat purchased is then used in the Public Distribution System (PDS), which distributes subsidized basic food
rations to the population," the FAO explained. "The total cereal import requirements, despite the expectations of an aboveaverage 2020 domestic harvest, are forecast to be near average, a level similar to the previous year, as the government
tries to rebuild stocks that have been recently depleted by the
COVID-19-related stockpiling by consumers."
,Q D VHSDUDWH DQDO\VLV RI WKH H൵HFWV RI WKH SDQGHPLF WKH
FAO said Iraq is vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 due to
pre-existing vulnerabilities, including poverty, dwindling natXUDOUHVRXUFHVDQGRQJRLQJGLVSODFHPHQWGXHWRSDVWFRQÀLFWV
"The collapse of the global oil market in April has also had
serious implications for Iraq's capacity to import food," the
FAO said. "Approximately 90% of the government's income
derives from oil revenue.
"From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Iraq has exempted agricultural stakeholders from
movement restrictions, allowing them to continue production
and transport of agricultural goods."
However, it warned of challenges to supply chains.
"Unless the constraints facing agricultural supply chains
are addressed, food security and job opportunities will be affected," the FAO said.
In an annual report on the grains sector, the USDA attaché
explained Iraq's system for distributing grain.
"The Public Distribution System was created in September
1990," the attaché said. "Since then, the system has been updated a number of times. It has consistently provided Iraqis
access to a range of staple commodities. In its current iteration, program participants pay 500 Iraqi dinars ($0.42) for
HDFKTXRWDRIIRRGZKLFKFRQWDLQVVKDUHVRIÀRXUULFHVXJDU
and cooking oil."
The attaché noted that the program allocates nine kilograms
RIÀRXUHLJKWWLPHVSHU\HDUDQGDOORWVRWKHUVWDSOHVVL[WLPHV
per year.
22

0

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20* 2020-21**

Source: US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service

"The PDS system accounts for a large percentage of Iraqi
wheat consumption," the attaché said.
The attaché put the total amount of wheat distributed under
the system at approximately 3.96 million tonnes a year.
"However, there are additional amounts consumed annually
LQWKHIRUPRIJUDLQRUÀRXULQFUHDVLQJWRWDOFRQVXPSWLRQ´WKH
DWWDFKp VDLG ³$ ODUJH TXDQWLW\ RI WKH ZKHDW ÀRXU GLVWULEXWHG
under the PDS system ends up either as animal feed due to poor
TXDOLW\RUEHFDXVHIDPLOLHVKDYHQRDELOLW\WREDNHWKHÀRXU´
WHEAT FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
7KHUHDUHDURXQGSULYDWHO\RZQHGÀRXUPLOOVLQ,UDT
"Much of the private sector milling capacity remains underutilized," the attaché said. "Private sector mills receive
ZKHDWVXSSOLHVDIWHUWKHSXEOLFVHFWRUFDSDFLW\LV¿OOHG6RPH
private millers in the past stopped or limited production due
to security concerns. However, this constraint no longer occurs. The Iraqi government retains ownership of wheat and
products throughout the production process."
,Q$SULOQLQHÀRXUPLOOVEHJDQPLOOLQJH[WUDFWLRQ
¿QHÀRXUIRUVDOHLQWKH,UDTLPDUNHWWKHDWWDFKpVDLG3ULRU
WRWKLVFKDQJHWKHRQO\¿QHÀRXUDYDLODEOHLQWKH,UDTLPDUNHW
was imported from Turkey, Iran, Kuwait or Jordan as Iraqi
PLOOVSURGXFHRQO\H[WUDFWLRQÀRXU
³,UDTFRQWLQXHVWRLPSRUWVL]DEOHYROXPHVRIZKHDWÀRXUIURP
Turkey, Iran, Kuwait and Jordan," the attaché said. "Traders esWLPDWHWKDWDURXQGRIÀRXULPSRUWVDUH7XUNLVKZKLOHWKH
remaining 15% comes from other countries. Reportedly, around
100 Turkish mills are producing only for the Iraqi market. TurkLVKPLOOHUVSURGXFHVSHFL¿FDOO\IRUWKH,UDTLPDUNHWDQGODEHO
SURGXFWVLQ$UDELFDVSHUWKHEX\HUV¶VSHFL¿FDWLRQV´
As the Iraqi population is beginning to consume more barley bread over wheat bread for dietary reasons, some wheat
ÀRXULPSRUWVIURP7XUNH\DUHEHLQJUHSODFHGE\EDUOH\ÀRXU
which is becoming an important source for bread in almost all
private sector bakeries, the attaché said.
September 2020 / World Grain / www.World-Grain.com


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World Grain - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - September 2020

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