Iraq’s agriculture ministry said on Monday it was planning to grow around 1.6 million hectares of wheat during the 2017/2018 farming season.
That is down from 1.8 million hectares grown last year, Mahdy al-Kaissy, a deputy at the agriculture ministry, said.
“The drop is largely attributed to changes in climate,” Kaissy said.
He said it was too early to estimate production figures but that they were hoping for a figure above or close to the 3.65 million tonnes targeted last season.
Iraq’s trade ministry has said it bought 2.38 million tonnes of local wheat in the 2017 season. The agriculture ministry gave a higher production estimate of 3.1 million tonnes.
Iraq needs an annual wheat supply between 4.5 million and 5 million tonnes, implying an import gap of more than one million tonnes per year.
A rationing programme was created in 1991 in Iraq to combat U.N. economic sanctions and includes flour, cooking oil, rice, sugar and baby milk formula.
The Trade Ministry is responsible for procuring strategic commodities, including wheat, for that programme.