First US wheat shipment on its way to Iraq

04 April 2003
The first shipment of US wheat in the emergency relief programme for Iraq is due to set off from Galveston on 3 April, according to US government officials. It forms part of an initial commitment of 200,000 tonnes, worth about $28 million at current market prices, announced by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Under the UN oil-for-food programme, the bulk of the wheat supplied to Iraq has been purchased from Australia. The trade has been worth about $472 million a year to Australian wheat growers.

USAID administrator Andrew Natsios said on 2 April that the first delivery would be 28,000 tonnes of bulk, hard red winter wheat produced in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. The wheat is being released from a stock held by the Emerson Trust, a food reserve administered under the authority of the US Department of Agriculture. Up to 4 million tonnes of wheat, corn, sorghum, and rice can be kept in reserve. There is about 2.5 million tonnes of wheat in the reserve, according to the Department of Agriculture.

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