FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 04/00 - IRAQ* (27 March)

IRAQ* (27 March)

Prospects for the 2000 cereal harvest in May/June remain unfavourable. Extended drought has substantially reduced cultivated area and adversely affected growing conditions. In addition, serious shortages of essential agricultural inputs are also constraining production.

Total cereal output in 1999 is estimated at 1.6 million tonnes, nearly 40 percent below the previous five year's average due to a severe drought and widespread incidence of pests and weeds. The drought has also caused serious damage to livestock, already weakened by foot and mouth disease.

In December 1999, the UN Security Council approved the seventh phase of the "Oil-for-food" programme, from January to June, which anticipates oil revenues of US$5.26 billion, but may be revised upward if earnings are higher, to buy food, medicine and health supplies, and for emergency repairs to infrastructure. In March 2000, the oil spare parts allocation was doubled from US$300 million to US$600 million to help the replacement of aging equipment. Despite some improvement in the overall food supply situation following the implementation of the "Oil for food" deal, health and nutritional problems remain widespread in many parts and will persist unless the requirements for the economic rehabilitation and development of the whole country are met.

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