In 2020, Iraq imported wheat flour worth $451 million, which made it the 2ndlargest importer of wheat flour in the world.Currently, Iraq imports wheat flour primarily from Turkey,Kuwait,Russia, UAE and Jordan.
Iraq, a major grain importer, has been taking urgent measures to secure strategic stocks of wheat and food supplies amid a surge in global wheat prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Iraq’s Trade Ministry said it plans to import more wheat for local flour production to decrease dependency on more expensive imported flours, the country’s state grain buying agency said on 3rdSeptember’22
The Trade Ministries Decision
The Trade Ministry is to adopt new mechanisms for buying Wheat Suppliers in India. The Ministry made no purchase in its last wheat tender in August and government sources said that it is moving towards making direct purchases and not banning all flour imports.
The price of a 50-kilogram imported sack of wheat flour is currently between $31 and $35. Iraq announced in July that it needs 4.5 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes of wheat in a year. It is looking to buy 1.5 million tonnes in order to cover the country’s consumption in the first months of the next year. It is unclear how much wheat Iraq will import for the planned increase in local flour production. The Ministry, which received $200 million in funds for the wheat purchases, expects to buy a preliminary 400,000 tonnes of wheat, while the rest will be bought gradually.
The Trade Ministry has signed memorandums of understanding with Australia, Canada and The United States and will buy wheat through direct purchases or tenders. Iraq currently has sufficient wheat reserves to cover its needs until the end of the current year after procuring 2.2 million tonnes of the local grain.
In the first week of September’22 ,Iraq’s state grains board purchased a total of about 100,000 tonnes of hard wheat in a tender,some 50,000 tonnes from Australia ($309.95 a tonne) and 50,000 tonnes from The United States ($332.17 a tonne). Four trading companies participated in the tender which is an improvement in comparison to previous years. No offers were reported for Canadian wheat. Iraq’s trade ministry has struggled to import grain in the past year after introducing new payment and quality terms that kept traders away from its International tenders.
Iraq is a major middle east grain importer and needs between 4.5 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes of wheat a year to supply its subsidised food program. It usually mixes its local grain with supplies from Australia, Canada, and US to make up for any shortfalls in local production. Owing to the expensive prices of wheat flour in the global market, Iraq’s Trade Ministry plans to procure more wheat to increase local flour production. Iraq is expected to require wheat imports in the coming months despite an improvement in its harvest.