According to official reports, Iraq will stop importing refined sugar for a government food distribution program, as domestic production has risen significantly.
The government has signed a contract with Etihad to be supplied with sugar from its refinery in Hilla, south of Baghdad, said Qasim Hmoud, Iraq's State Company for Foodstuff Trading's general manager.
The sugar bought by the government is distributed for free to the population under a food rationing program that also includes flour, cooking oil and rice.
Hmoud said, "The year 2016 will be the year of relying on national products to supply the rationed food card items."
Trade ministry spokesperson said that the contract with Etihad would effectively put an end to refined sugar imports. Iraq is reviving its national industry after years of neglect, as it seeks to reduce dollar imports after falling oil prices hurt its income.
Its traditional sugar suppliers are Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Canada.
The Etihad refinery will be able to supply all the sugar distributed under the rationing program, the company's commercial manager Haider Al-Numani told. He also mentioned that the company imports its raw sugar from Brazil.
Trade ministry spokesman further said that Iraq consumes 900,000 tons of sugar per year, the majority of it through the rationing program.