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February 28, 2011

Libya expects 50% rise in wheat harvest

Libya expects its wheat harvest to rise 50 percent this year to 300,000 tonnes, which would put its expected imports of the commodity at 1.3 million tonnes, Ali Arhouma who heads Libya's Grain Production Authority told Reuters.

From 200,000 tonnes harvested in the previous 2010 campaign, the gas and oil exporter plans to raise its domestic wheat production to 600,000 tonnes by 2015.

This would be achieved once a massive canal -- channelling water from aquifers in the desert -- adds 90,000 hectares to the country's wheat-planted areas and with the help of heavy subsidies from the state to farmers, Arhouma said.

To ensure food security, the Libyan government has set up a company dedicated to investment in agricultural projects abroad.

"There are attempts to plant wheat in Ukraine, Turkey, Argentina and Brazil," Arhouma added.

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