Iraq COVID-19 Food Security Monitor Bi-Weekly Update - Issue 18, 22 September 2020 [EN/AR]


I. Key Messages

  • The government has started repaying farmers for their cereal crops in governorates affected by the Daesh incursion, which were marketed to government silos in the period of 2014-15.

  • Preparation for the winter crop planting season has begun, with governorates accommodating plans to irrigation prospects as river water levels reach record lows.

  • Government food basket distribution is picking up, as more commodities are received by the ministry of Trade, expanding on local distributions.

  • The national average of main food commodities prices remained stable, with a slight reduction in sugar and wheat flour prices, with continued variation in seasonal vegetable prices between governorates.

II. Overview

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to spread in Iraq. As of 7 September 2020, the World Health Organization reported 345,969 cases and 8,935 deaths, roughly a 10% increase in cases compared to previous report.

The global economic slowdown, driven by pandemic containment measures, decreased the demand for oil and put downward pressure on prices. In Iraq, oil income accounts for 90% of the government revenue and the drop in oil prices has had a significant impact on country’s finances. Over the past two weeks, Basra heavy oil prices have remained stable, fluctuating between USD 39.5 and USD 43.3 per barrel, up from minimum of USD 18.7 per barrel in April 2020, but well below USD 57.5 per barrel, the price recorded roughly one year ago.

The Iraqi government received support in response to COVID-19 from several donors. The Saudi Fund for Development Fund will help establish a grain silo in Diwaniyah Governorate and a hospital in Anbar. The French government will help the MoA rehabilitate aircraft for pest control, such as the Dubas date palm bug. Additionally, the European Union Ambassador met with the Minister of Agriculture to discuss opportunities to develop the sector sustainably.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank continue to track the impact of this crisis on food security, with a focus on food availability, access, utilization and stability.