Rice Shortage in Iraq
The trade ministry called for funds from the state’s budget in March to build three months’ supply of strategic wheat and rice stockpiles. It renewed its call for funds as Iraqis suffer to meet their daily food needs owing to the economic conditions amid the pandemic.
The country needs around 1-1.25 million tonnes of rice a year to support the program. The resignation of former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in November by nationwide anti-corruption protests has hindered the renewal of the budget before the next calendar year.
Why the Shortage?
Iraq is an arid region and facing climate change. The rise and fall in precipitation levels are characteristics of dry regions. Consequently, the government of Iraq restricted the cultivation of rice in the country.
Rice is the third most popular crop after wheat and barley in Iraq. However, its production in the country is not sufficient to meet the domestic demand. Hence Iraq’s grain board (under the Trade Ministry) holds regular international tenders to import wheat, rice, sugar, cooking oil, and flour. To meet its domestic consumption Iraq majorly depends on grain imports.
In all, people are struggling in Iraq for food amid the pandemic.