IRAQ* (11 February)
Despite recent precipitation in the region, prospects for the 2005 winter grain crops in Iraq, for harvest in from next May, are uncertain. The 2004 total cereal production is estimated at 2.9 million tonnes, above the average for the previous five years.
The Public Distribution System (PDS) operated under the Oil-for-Food programme established by SCR 986 (1995) provides food for the entire population of approximately 26.3 million Iraqis. The Ministry of Trade took over from WFP in contracting for food. WFP is to implement a one-year emergency programme for the most vulnerable. According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the UNDP, acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 increased to 7.7 percent this year compared to 4 percent two years ago. The nutrition surveys indicate that conditions are worst in southern Iraq.