Iraq Barley: Romania Leaves the Competitors Far Away   


Jun 15, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

The Ministry of Agriculture of Iraq expected that the total amount of wheat produced locally for the current year would reach five to six million tons while indicating that it would enable Iraq to become self-sufficient in the strategic crop.

The Ministry’s advisor, Mahdi Damad Al-Qaisi, said in a statement to the official newspaper that “the total area of the winter plan after the current wave of rains exceeded 13 million dunums, and it includes crops of wheat, Barley, and vegetables, distributed at seven million dunums for demi-cultivating, that is, dependent on rain.

Barley is stored in two main storage facilities in Iraq, one belonging to the government-owned Mesopotamian State Company for Seed Production and the other belonging to the Iraqi Seed Company, a public-private entity. Both companies also have rented spaces to store Barley in different locations in the governorates. Farmers keep some of their Barley as seed for the next season.

MOA completely lifted its input subsidies on Barley production in MY 2022/23. Farmers can no longer purchase seeds at 70 percent of their value, fertilizers at half price, or receive free pest spraying. The MOT buys Barley from farmers at a set procurement price of 420,000 dinars/MT ($290/MT), the same price as third-grade (feed-grade) wheat. Barley is then distributed to livestock farmers through several state-owned firms.

Post expects higher Barley purchasing prices will be put in force in MY 2022/23. Companies affiliated with the MOA purchase domestic Barley from farmers. These firms then resell the grain to farmers and fisheries as feed at a reduced rate. Animal breeders may buy up to 30 MT of Barley per season. Farmers pay 200,000 dinars/MT ($138/MT) for Barley. Often farmers keep a large share of their Barley production for feeding livestock throughout the year. However, because of the low output, high demand, and high market prices for Barley, it will be difficult for MOA to maintain this policy of purchasing Barley in MY 2022/23. Removing subsidies plus reported delayed payments creates less incentive for farmers to sell their crops to the government.

Smaller production in the current and forecast marketing years put downward pressure on stocks. In addition, because of the lower production, the market price of Barley has exceeded the MOT announced prices. This and the lifting of subsidies on the inputs led many farmers to not market their Barley to government silos as in previous years and instead sell their grain on the local market. 

In 2021, Iraq imported Barley worth $88.3 million, becoming the 27th largest importer of Barley in the world. In the same year, Barley was Iraq’s 130th most imported product. Iraq imports Barley primarily from: Romania ($48 million), Russia ($15.6 million), Australia ($14.7 million), Azerbaijan ($6.48 million), and Turkey ($3.21 million).

Iraq Decisions to Restrict the Movement of Barley

On April 15, 2021, MOA issued many decisions to restrict the transshipment of wheat and Barley inside Iraq (specifically between the KRI in the north and the rest of the governorates) to limit the entry of crops from unknown sources. The entry of imported wheat and Barley by the private sector is blocked from all border outlets until further notice, while the crops transferred to MOA-owned entities (the Mesopotamia General Seed Company and the Iraqi Seed Production Company) were excluded.

The purpose is to limit the entry of crops from unknown sources, unspecified harvest seasons, and unclear consumption suitability – i.e., whether intended for human or fodder use – and deter gray market trade from smugglers and speculative traders.


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