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Iraq plans on buying more wheat to boost local flour production - ministry

DUBAI, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Iraq’s trade ministry said it plans to import more wheat for local flour production to decrease dependence on more expensive imported flour, the country's state grain buying agency said late on Saturday.

The trade ministry is to "adopt new mechanisms" of wheat buying, the agency said, without providing details.

Iraq, a major grain importer, has been taking urgent measures to secure strategic stocks of wheat and food supplies amid a surge in prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The ministry made no purchase in its last wheat tender in August, and government sources said it is moving towards making direct purchases.

The ministry is not banning all flour imports, government sources said. The price of a 50-kilogram imported sack of flour is currently between $31 and $35. In need of 4.5 million to 5 million tonnes of wheat a year, Iraq announced in July that it is looking to buy 1.5 million tonnes in order to cover the country's consumption in the first months of the next year. It is unclear how much more wheat it would import for the planned increase in local flour production.

(Reporting by Moayad Kenany; Writing by Aya Nader Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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