BAGHDAD, IRAQ — Except for wheat, Iraq’s 2021-22 marketing year grain production is expected to fall as sporadic rainfall is anticipated to strain limited water resources, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Iraq’s wheat production in the 2020-21 marketing year is forecast to be 6.2 million tonnes. The USDA originally thought the COVID-19 pandemic would negatively impact wheat production by limiting access to fields, but it did not impact production. A higher production estimate has lowered the country’s wheat import need to 1.87 million tonnes in the 2020-21 marketing year. Wheat production for the 2021-22 marketing year is expected to be 7.26 million tonnes based on expanded planted area.
The country’s barley production is anticipated to increase from 1.67 million tonnes to 2.02 million tonnes in the 2020-21 marketing year, leading to a surplus. Iraq exported about 700,000 tonnes of barley in the 2020-21 marketing year. Iraq’s 2021-22 marketing year barley production estimate is forecast to decrease 22% compared to the previous year to 1.58 million tonnes. The USDA attributed the decrease in production to the government increasing wheat planted area and to address criticism that Iraq is using limited water resources to produce a commodity it is already purchasing.
Rice production in the 2020-21 marketing is estimated to total 373,000 tonnes. Production estimates for the 2021-22 marketing year has yet to be determined as Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture is awaiting instruction from the Ministry of Water Resources on the availability of water for summer crops, particularly rice and corn. The USDA expects Iraq’s rice imports in the 2021-22 marketing year to reach 12 million tonnes due to poor rainfall early in the marketing year.
The country’s corn production also is expected to be negatively impacted by limited water availability. The USDA forecasts corn production in the 2021-22 marketing year to be 377,000 tonnes. The reduction in corn planted area is projected to push Iraq’s corn imports in the 2021-22 marketing year to 800,000 tonnes.