Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec.19 /Trend F.Milad/
Iran will reach self-sufficiency in rice production in the next Iranian calendar year (to start March 20, 2013), Iranian Deputy Agricultural Jihad Minister Jahangir Porhemmat said on Wednesday, the FARS News Agency reported.
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, but officials announced in November that the plan needs some more three years for completion.
Mehdi Kabuli, an official with the country's Agricultural Jihad Ministry also said on December 12 that Iran needs to import 500,000 tons of rice each year.
Iran plans to produce over 2.4 million tons of rice in the current Iranian calendar year which ends March 19, 2013, the ISNA News Agency quoted Kabuli as saying.
The 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 the country's needs, he went on to note that the agriculture ministry plans to store the rice for the future and there is no need for farmers to worry.
"The quality and price of the Iranian rice is really reasonable, so farmers can easily sell their products," he added.
Based on the reports published earlier this month, Iran has 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.
Compared to the same time as the previous year, the figures show a 12.01 per cent increase in terms of value, and a 2.35 per cent decrease in terms of volume.
India, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan were the main exporters of rice to Iran.