Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec.12/ Trend's F. Milad
Iran needs to import 500,000 tons of rice each year, Mehdi Kabuli, an official with the country's Agricultural Jihad Ministry said on Wednesday.
Iran plans to produce over 2.4 million tons of rice in the current Iranian calendar year, which ends March 19th, 2013, the ISNA News Agency quoted Kabuli as saying.
Annual rice consumption in Iran stands around 2.8 million tons, so we only need to import less than 500,000 tons of rice this year, he said.
Referring to the fact that Iran is currently importing more than its needs, he went on to note that the agriculture ministry plans to store rice for the future and there is no need for farmers to worry.
"The quality and price of Iranian rice is very reasonable, farmers can easily sell their products," he added.
Based on reports published earlier this month, Iran has imported 775,000 tons of rice, valued at $758 million during the first eight months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 20th.
Compared to the same time span last year, figures show a 12.01% increase in terms of value, and 2.35% decrease in terms of volume.
India, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan were the main exporters of rice to Iran.
Head of Iran's Rice Guild Association said on December 8th that imported Indian rice may be contaminated with chemicals like arsenic.
There are rumors that Indian Basmati rice that has recently been imported, is contaminated with chemicals. Some Indian officials have implicitly confirmed this claim, the Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.
"The government should conduct the necessary tests as soon as possible," he added.
He went on to note that Iran will soon import rice from Uruguay.
Iran plans to reach self-sufficiency in rice production during the next three years.
According to the Agriculture Jihad Ministry's plan, Iran was supposed to reach self-sufficiency in the rice production field by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 19th, 2013), but the officials recently announced the plan needs some more 3 years to be completed, the ISNA News Agency reported.