Iran needs to import 4 million tons of wheat

Tehran, Iran, Nov. 11

By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

Iran needs to import 4 million metric tons of wheat.

Iran's Deputy Agricultural Jihad Minister AbdolMehdi Bakhshandeh said that the country purchased 7 million metric tons of wheat from domestic farmers in the current Iranian calendar year, Iran's Fars News Agency reported on Nov. 11.

Iran's calendar and fiscal year starts on March 21.

"The ministry paid over 70 trillion rials (some $2.20 billion based on the exchange rate of USD at the free market) to purchase the mentioned amount of wheat," he said.

"The country's annual wheat consumption is around 11 million metric tons, so we are 4 million metric tons short," Bakhshandeh explained.

"We are working to increase next year's output," the official noted.

Iran's Agricultural Jihad Minister Mahmoud Hojjati said on October 25 that the country plans to increase its wheat and barley production in cooperation with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Iranian media reports suggest that due to the low price, farmers are not willing to sell their wheat to the government and prefer to sell them to private buyers.

Deputy Agricultural Jihad Minister Abbas Keshavarz said in August that Iran will not be able to reach self-sufficiency on wheat production in the next four years.

"The country's total production will reach 13.4 million metric tons by the end of the Iranian calendar year of 1397 (to end March 20, 2019)," he said, Iran's ISNA News Agency reported on August 13.

"The country's wheat imports will also stand at 1.35 million metric tons by the end of the mentioned year," he said.

By producing 10.5 million metric tons of wheat, Iran reached self-sufficiency in wheat production in 2004 and during the presidency of Mohammad Khataai. But according to Iran's current president, Hassan Rouhani, the country's output was decrease by one million metric ton per year since 2004 and now the country needs to import 7.2 million metric tons to meet its domestic demands.

According to FAO, Iran produced 14 million metric tons of wheat in the previous calendar year (which ended on March 20).

However, during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency Iran reportedly submitted false reports to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in regards to the country's wheat output.

Isa Kalantari, the secretary general of Iran's House of Farmers, previously said that the country's domestic need is around 13 million metric tons, which is even one million metric tons less than the announced production rate in previous year. However, the country imported considerable amount of wheat.

MP Seyed Razi Nouri said in September last year that the country's wheat production has fallen to 3 million metric tons per year.

Iran customs administration's reports suggest that Iran imported 3.5 and 6.7 million metric tons of wheat in the calendar years of 1392 (which ended on March 20, 2013) and 1391 (which ended on March 20, 2012), respectively. Ahmadinejad's administration had put the production rate of the mentioned years at 13.5 and 14 million metric tons.

This is while Iran's wheat imports in the calendar year of 1390 (ended March 20, 2011) were around 233,000 metric tons. So the country's imports were increased by 30 times in 1391.

Iran imported 1.4 million metric tons of wheat in the first two months of the current year (March 21 - May 20).

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