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Parts of Iraq in grip of drought

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Iraqi men remove pieces of cracked earth

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Parts of Iraq are in the grip of a drought, adding to woes of farmers already battling security problems, poor power supplies, saline soils and lack of machinery, the agriculture minister has warned.

Winter rains, which usually begin drenching the country from October, have yet to arrive and seeds planted in the autumn have yet to germinate and have started rotting or are being eaten by birds, Ali al-Bahadili told AFP.

"If we get some rain in the coming weeks we will get some germination but it is late. We will have to give seeds to farmers to catch up," he said.

"But production will be down. Definitely there will be a great impact on that."

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