BAGHDAD, IRAQ — Grain production in Iraq is forecast to decline slightly in 2020-21 as a dip in wheat output offsets gains in barley, rice and corn production, according to a June 23 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Iraqi grain production may not rebound in a similar pattern in 2020-21 as it did in 2019-20 due to a shortage of rainfall coupled with impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Iraq’s oil-dependent economy and movement restrictions that limit the ability for farmers to cultivate their grain,” the USDA said.

The USDA expects less than average yields per unit area of wheat and barley due to late and insufficient rainfall in growing areas, but an increase in planted area may compensate for yield declines.

With wheat production projected to decline to 6 million tonnes from 6.6 million tonnes, the USDA expects wheat imports to reach 2.7 million tonnes in 2020-21, an increase of 17% from the previous year.

The USDA forecast barley output to increase to 1.67 million tonnes in 2020-21, up from 1.65 million tonnes in 2019-20.

The agency noted that grain-based food and feed consumption are forecast to rise due to population growth and growing demand for meat and dairy products fueling the Iraqi livestock sector.

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