Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec.7/ Trend F.Milad
Iran imported 775,000 tons of rice valued at $758 million in the first eight months of the current Iranian calendar year which began on March 20, the Mehr News Agency reported.
Compared to the same time span in the previous year, the figures show a 12.01 per cent increase in term of value and 2.35 per cent decrease in terms of volume.
India, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan were the main exporters of rice to Iran. Iran plans to reach self-sufficiency in rice production in the next three years.
According to the Agriculture Jihad ministry's plan, Iran was supposed to reach self-sufficiency in rice production by the end of current Iranian calendar year (March 19, 2013), but officials recently announced the plan needs some more three years to be completed, the ISNA News Agency reported.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Iran's state grain buyer continues to build its strategic stocks in light of increased international prices and concerns about the domestic food security.
Reports indicate that in September 2012, Iran made large purchases of cereals on the international markets. Discussions are underway with specific trading partners.
Facing budgetary concerns, the Government attempted to phase out the subsidy programme. Although some subsidies for staple foods such as milk, bread, rice, vegetables and yoghurt remain in place, food prices have generally increased.
The latest official information available from the Central Bank published for the period from March 21 to April 20, 2012, indicates that the food and beverage price inflation reached 33 per cent relative to the same period in 2011 and 5.3 per cent relative to the preceding month in 2012. The year on year increase in 2011 for the same period was 25.3 per cent.