Mapping Islamic militants’ increasing control of Iraq’s wheat
Iraq’s militants “now control yet another powerful economic weapon – wheat supplies,” Reuters’ Maggie Fick and Maha Dahan report. Fighters from the Islamic State have overrun large areas in five of Iraq’s most fertile provinces, where the United Nations food agency says around 40 percent of its wheat is grown:
Now they’re helping themselves to grain stored in government silos, milling it and distributing the flour on the local market, an Iraqi official told Reuters. The Islamic State has even tried to sell smuggled wheat back to the government to finance a war effort marked by extreme violence and brutality.
This graphic maps out Iraqi wheat production by province and towns held by various militant factions. A total of 1.1 million metric tonnes (about 1.2 million U.S. tons) out of Iraq’s total annual wheat production of 2.9 million tonnes (3.2 million U.S. tons) is in conflict areas. Iraq imports about the same amount annually to meet consumption of 6.5 million tonnes (7.2 million U.S. tons).