Food shortages in Iraq

Food Shortages Hit Iraqis

By Abed-latif al-Mawsawi
Azzaman, 2005-01-16

Besides security concerns, Iraqis now have to grabble with a shortage of basic foods.

The quality and quantity of state-supplied food rations has worsened recently and many Iraqis say they now receive less food than during the days of former President Saddam Hussein.

Iraqis have depended on monthly rations since the Saddam Hussein era, under a system meant to lessen the impact of the 1990-2003 U.N.-imposed sanctions that helped destroy the economy.

The Trade Ministry has acknowledged that supplies of basic items are low but blames logistics and lack of security for the shortages.

Prices of bread, the mainstay for millions of families, have skyrocketed recently to levels unseen before.

A loaf of bread in Baghdad is now sold for 100 dinars from 25 a year ago.

To allay fears of further shortages, Trade Minister Mohammed al-Joubori re-affirmed government’s commitment to continue supplying Iraqi families with subsidized food rations.

“We have no problem with tea and the contracts we have signed are sufficient for five months,” he said in a statement faxed to the newspaper.

He said 14,000 tons of ghee were on their way to the country from neighboring Syria and Jordan.

“I do not think there will be a shortage of legumes with 5,000 tones expected to arrive by the end of the month,” he said.

Joubori attributed the shortages to logistics, saying “long convoys” of trucks packed with food items were queuing on border posts.

Insurgents attack trucks plying Iraqi highways. As a result transport prices have surged at a time many drivers are reluctant to work for the government.

The climb in prices of bread is also partly due to acute fuel and power shortages as most bakeries in the country either rely on electricity or kerosene.

Many Iraqis did not get their monthly allocations of sugar rations of 2.5 kilograms per person.

“The Ministry (of Trade) will try to make up for the shortage of sugar this month,” Joubori promised.

The monthly food rations are vital for millions of Iraqis. Without them many will starve in Iraq."


Blog Archive