Drought Lays Waste 70 Percent of Cultivated Land in Iraq
Associated Press, April 4, 2000
Lack of rain may have devastated up to 70 percent of arable land Iraqis had planted with wheat, barley and other crops, U.N. and Iraqi government forecasts reveal. Rainfall in February was one fifth of that recorded last year, itself one of the driest in the past 50 years, according to an official report obtained Tuesday. In March, most areas had virtually no rain, the report added. "The situation is very bad," Amir Khalil of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization told The Associated Press. "For the first time Iraq has to import barley and in large quantities." Both U.N. and Iraqi officials declined to give figures on this year's produce. But given the severity of the drought, harvest is expected to be even lower than the meager amounts farmers shipped to state silos last year. Grain yields in 1999 fell to 1.3 million tons from 2.5 million tons compared with the previous year. Iraq needs at least four million tons of wheat a year.
Iraq's Crop Harvest Down by Half
Associated Press, May 25, 1999
The worst drought on record in Iraq has cut crop yields to half of last year's totals, a U.N. report released today said. The Iraqi government usually refuses to give figures or estimates on agriculture, making the U.N. report particularly significant. The Tigris Basin has seen the lowest water flow rate ever recorded, the report said. All indications point to a wheat and barley crop failure. The U.N. report predicts feed will become more expensive, adversely affecting livestock and poultry production. It also expected further increases in consumer prices of dairy and meat products. The drought could cause crop losses estimated at 37 percent of wheat and 63 percent of barley'' this year, according to the report submitted last week to the U.N. Security Council. Last year, Iraqi government granaries collected 1.2 million tons of wheat and 859,000 tons of barley. The government has admitted that the country is facing the worst drought ever recorded.
Another Dry Year in Iraq
Reuters, July 15, 2000
Farmers have abandoned their farms in this town and the surrounding district, once known for its high crop yield. For two consecutive years, the area has witnessed very dry weather with almost no rain at all. Iraqi and U.N. officials predict Iraq will suffer an even worse drought this year than last. They said the drought would have a devastating impact on crops and animal production. Iraq has been hit by the most severe drought ever recorded in the past 100 years, said Amir Khalil, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Iraq. Khalil said the drought was expected to destroy 75 percent of Iraqs harvest this year.