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Abu Ghraib Dairy, Abu Ghraib, Iraq

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Three wars and international economic sanctions embargoes have resulted in a significant decline in the quality of the Iraqi diet. Specifically, Iraq s food markets and current nutritional levels have suffered from the effects of war, sanctions, instability, state mismanagement, low disposable income, and irregular electrical supply. For example, the United Nations Childrens Fund noted a dramatic rise in child malnutrition following the 1991 Gulf War due to a lack of protein consumption dairy products and red meat. Dairy products play an important role in the human diet for all ages, especially children because they contain a considerable amount of essential amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. Over the past two decades, doctors have noticed that almost a quarter of Iraqi children are either born underweight or are malnourished by age five. Milk is essential in a balanced diet, especially for a country like Iraq, with an increasing overall population, a large youth population, and a high fertility rate. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID, Iraq has a population of approximately 26 million, with 20 of its population under the age of 24 and increasing, and a birth rate of 4.2 children per family. This increase in population will result in an escalating need for the production and processing of dairy products, especially milk. Traditionally, a young population consumes a large amount of dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and processed cheese. However, Iraq does not have the resources necessary to provide dairy products to its increasing population. For example, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, in 2008, Iraq had 1,064,404 head of cattle, 146,092 head of water buffalo, 13,793,789 sheep, and 645,662 goats, which produced approximately 165,000 tons of fresh milk annually1. This liquid ready to drink milk accounts for about a third of the total consumption while the remaining two-thirds come from reconstituted po

Subject Categories:

  • Food, Food Service and Nutrition
  • Structural Engineering and Building Technology

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