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BAGHDAD: Iraq’s agriculture minister said Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey had expressed interested in buying its barley in a tender, al-Sabah newspaper reported on Sunday.

“The ministry is planning on paying local barley farmers from the revenue of the sale and export of the crop in an international tender this week, around 700,000 tonnes,” the paper quoted Mohamed al-Khafaji as saying.

Iraq’s agriculture ministry had said in September it would look to export its surplus barley crop, around 700,000 tonnes, a first for the country.

Khafaji’s comments suggest the sale will be made through a competitive bidding process.

“Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have presented requests to buy the Iraqi barley crop and they will enter into a bidding process where the highest price will win,” he was quoted as saying.

Khafaji also said several Saudi companies had expressed a desire to establish livestock projects in Al Muthanna, Anbar and Najaf provinces but that the water resources ministry said it was unable to provide sustainable water for a 50-year period in those areas and so the companies withdrew.—Reuters