Iran reaches self-sufficiency in wheat production

Business Materials 29 June 2016 20:09 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 29

By Fatih Karimov – Trend:

The Iranian government has bought over five million tons of wheat from farmers from the beginning of harvest this year, Mahmoud Hojjati, the country’s agriculture minister, said.

The figure indicates a rise by 20 percent compared to the preceding year, Hojjati said, the Agriculture Ministry reported June 29.

He further said the wheat production and consumption balance has become positive and the administration will be able to meet this year’s needs for wheat on its own.

Earlier, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, the Iranian government’s spokesman, said the domestic wheat production costs more for the Iranian government, in comparison with importing it.

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 (each USD makes 30,680 rials).

According to Nobakht, this is done to support the domestic production.

Food security is a serious matter for Iran given the size of its population, which has grown over 80 million with the country’s food basket shrinking.

The country itself is for the major part an arid land.

Iran’s 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.

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 north-western 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.