(Updates with corn production in sixth paragraph.)
Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq will increase local wheat production by about 74 percent to 3 million metric tons by 2015, according to Saleh Hussein Jabur, director general of state- owned Mesopotamia Seed Co.
The government plans to triple the annual quantity of wheat seed that it buys from local farmers to 180,000 tons in 2015 from 60,000 tons now, he said in an interview in Baghdad today.
Iraq imports wheat and rice, purchased by the government to supply a food rationing program. Soil salinity, poor irrigation and a drought in the last three years combined to make the country a buyer on world markets.
Iraq consumes about 4.5 million tons of wheat a year and local production for the 2010-11 season was about 1.73 million tons, Hassan Ismail Ibrahim, director general of Iraq’s Grain Board, said Nov. 29. The country plans to import 3 million tons of wheat in 2012, he said.
Mesopotamia Seed Co., a unit of the Agriculture Ministry, is in charge of buying and selling wheat seeds and yellow fodder corn to farmers and livestock breeders. The company classifies the wheat seeds into four types, buys each with a different price and resells them with a subsidized price to the farmers in order to help encourage farming in Iraq, Jabur said.
Iraq plans to increase local yellow fodder corn production to be able to satisfy its consumption by 2014 and 2015, Jabur said. Iraq consumes about 450,000 tons of yellow fodder corn a year, Musadaq Delfi Ali, director general of Livestock Service Co., said in an interview in Baghdad today.
Iraq will harvest about 200,000 tons of yellow fodder corn this year, up from 90,000 tons in 2010, he said. The output increase is due to new irrigation and planting methods, he said. It will cover 30 percent to 40 percent of local needs, with the remainder supplied by imports made by the private sector, he said.
--With assistance from Nayla Razzouk in Dubai. Editors: Claudia Carpenter, John Deane.
To contact the reporter on this story: Khalid Al-Ansary in Baghdad, through the Dubai newsroom at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at email@example.com