Iraq, a major Middle East grain importer stated that it wanted to allow Russian origin wheat imports in its state buying tenders.
Trade Minister Mohammed Hashim Al-Aani said he would send representatives to Russia to study its wheat quality and its suitability for use in Iraq’s massive food rationing program.
“The ministry will send a delegation to Russia to study the mechanisms of wheat production ... in order to paint a picture of its quality and types and how suitable it is for use within the subsidy card system,” he said in a statement.
Al-Aani made the comments after a meeting with the Russian ambassador to Iraq.
Iraq needs an annual wheat supply of between 4.5 million and five million tons, and has an import gap of around two million tons a year.
The country spends billions of dollars annually on a Saddam-era program for food rationing, the Public Distribution System, to supply subsidized bread and other essential foods to its population.
Iraq’s grain board imports its wheat mostly from the US, Australia and Canada. It is one of the few markets in the Middle East, alongside Saudi Arabia, that does not import from Russia, one of the world’s largest grain exporters.