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Iraq buys local wheat, barley through UN food plan
UNITED NATIONS ,Iraq is for the first time using money from the seven-year-old UN oil-for-food program to purchase locally grown wheat and barley, a UN official told the Security Council on Thursday.
Benon Sevan, executive director of the UN Iraq Program, said Iraq intended to buy locally 1.25 million tonnes of wheat - valued at $152.4 million - and 500,000 tonnes of barley valued at $35.4 million, according to his speaking notes obtained by Reuters.
The planned wheat purchase was a project of the World Food Program project while the barley purchase was a project of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Sevan added.
The oil-for-food program was set up in 1996 and enabled Iraq under the Saddam Hussein government to sell oil and use the proceeds to buy food, medicine and other non-military goods.
It was created to ease the impact on ordinary Iraqis of UN sanctions - including a ban on oil sales - imposed on Baghdad following its 1990 invasion of neighbouring Kuwait.
But now that US-led forces have overthrown Saddam, Sevan is overseeing the dismantling of the oil-for-food program. Under pressure from the United States, the Security Council last month ordered the sanctions lifted and the oil-for-food program phased out over a six-month period.
The local purchases could be bad news for Australia, which dominates Iraq's grain import market, selling about 2 million tonnes of wheat to Iraq each year through the oil-for-food program.
MGR Archive 28.6.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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