For Iran cheaper to import wheat than produce domestically
Tehran, Iran, June 14
By Mehdi Sepahvand, Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Domestic wheat production costs more for the Iranian government, in comparison with importing it, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, the Iranian government spokesman, said.
The Iranian government bought 3.708 million tons of wheat worth 47.49 trillion rials (each USD makes 30,509 rials) from farmers, Nobakht said during a press conference in Tehran, Trend's correspondent reported from the event June 14.
Nobakht further said that of the mentioned figure, 29.4 trillion rials has been paid to farmers so far. He added that the government prefers buying wheat from Iranian farmers rather than importing it from abroad.
He noted that the administration buys wheat from farmers at 12,000 rials per kilogram while import costs less than 9,000 rials per kilogram.
According to Nobakht, this is done to support domestic production. He also said that the price has grown by 22 percent from the last Iranian fiscal year(ended March 20).
Food security is a serious matter for Iran, given the size of its population which has grown over 80 million and seen its food basket grow smaller. The country itself is for the major part an arid land.
Iran wheat production stood at 14 million tons in 2015-2016, the World Bank said in its Commodity Markets Outlook report, released Apr. 26.
The figure for 2013-2014 was 7.2 million tons. Iran has set the target of achieving wheat self-sufficiency in three to four years.
Wheat is the dominant crop cultivated in Iran, accounting for almost 70 percent of aggregate cereal production. Irrigated wheat covers almost one-third of the total wheat area. As a result, the bulk of the wheat crop depends on the performance of seasonal precipitation. Most of the rain-fed wheat crop is concentrated in the northwestern part of Iran. Iranians annually consume 14 million tons of wheat.
About 11 million tons out of the total number is used in food industry while about 2.5 million tons are used in industrial sectors and about one million ton is used as seed.