Iran lifts ban on rice import

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 22

By Fatih Karimov- Trend:

Iranian agriculture ministry lifted ban on rice import for upcoming eight months.

In a letter to Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, the Islamic Republic's agriculture minister, Mahmoud Hojjati announced that the ban will be suspended from Nov. 25 to July 21, 2016, semi-official Mehr news agency reported Nov. 22.

Hojjati has referred to a directive issued by the Economy Council of Iran on Nov. 1 which removes ban on rice import in order to meet the country's demand.

The agriculture minister has emphasized that after July 21, 2016 the customs administration should prevent rice imports in order to support domestic farmers.

The customs administration also should receive 5,000 rials ($0.17 based on official rate of 29,971 rials per each USD) per each kilograms of the imported rice, the letter reads.

Due to surplus amount of stored rice from past years a ban was imposed on rice imports this year.

However rice imports in Iran registered a rise by 1282 percent in terms of volume during the seventh Iranian calendar month of Mehr (Sept.23-Oct. 22), despite the legal ban.

Iran imported 1.1 million tons of rice, worth $35.6 million during that period, according to the country's customs administration report.

The figure has almost doubled, compared to the total rice imported in the first seven months of current Iranian fiscal year, which started March 21.

India was the top rice exporter to Iran in the period with 1.385 million tons of exports.

Significant fall of the imported rice in the past month also has raised doubts about the quality of the rice which recently entered Iran's market.

The average price of the imported rice in the first half of the current Iranian year stood at one dollar per kilogram meanwhile it fell to $0.3 in the 7-month period.

Iran's yearly rice consumption stands at some 3 million tons.

Iran was supposed to reach self-sufficiency in the rice production field by March, 2013, according to the agriculture ministry's plan, but officials announced that the plan needs another three years to be completed.

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