Iran allocates $5.7 billion to buy wheat from domestic farmers

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jun.15/ Trend F.Karimov/

The Central Bank of Iran has been authorized to allocate 70 trillion rials ($5.7 billion based on the official rate dollar of 12,260 rials) for buying wheat from domestic farmers, the Fars News Agency reported.

The funds have been allocated as per the current year's national budget law.

Iran has ramped up its campaign to import wheat, buying more than 800,000 tons in two weeks in what some traders said was a drive to ensure adequate supplies for a possibly tense period after Friday's election, Reuters reported previously.

Traders believe Tehran has paid a significant premium for at least 200,000 tons of wheat this week, adding to the previous week's purchases of 600,000 tons of bread-making wheat and 60,000 tons of animal feed wheat from Germany and the Baltic and Black Sea regions.

Some traders said 300,000 tons or more of 12.5 percent protein wheat - suitable for bread - may have been bought in the latest purchases.

The trade Promotion Organization of Iran has disallowed exports of wheat in a bid to curb illegal selling of wheat at western borders.

A number of Iranian MPs have criticized the government for buying wheat from farmers at a low price, saying it has encouraged Iraqi merchants to buy wheat from Iranian farmers at a higher price.

The Agriculture Jihad Ministry purchases wheat from domestic producers at a price of 7000 rials per kilo.

The price set by the government will lead to the "destruction" of the agricultural industry, the MPs stated.

"Last year (March 2012-March 2013), we celebrated self-sufficiency in the production of wheat, while we imported six million tons," said MP Ahmad Shohani, who represents the western city of Ilam.

If this trend continues this year, Iran will be forced to import 10 million tons of wheat instead of six million, he added.

MP Hamed Qaderi, who represents the city of Qorveh in Kordestan Province, said the government pays 12,000 to 13,000 rials for each kilogram of wheat that it imports while it pays 7000 rials per kilo for wheat produced domestically.

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