A glance at Iran’s food industry performance

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 7

By Fatih Karimov– Trend:

Food industry is one of the biggest employer sectors in Iran, with a 17 percent share of the total industrial jobs in the country.

Following the removal of international sanctions, the Iranian entrepreneurs now have an eye to foreign markets.

The Iranian administration, for its turn, encourages export of agricultural products, amid all concerns about the water shortage and disappointing horizon of country’s water reserves.

Iran has 50 million hectares of farms, of which 20 million hectares are under cultivation. Over 100 million tons of food products are produced in the country annually.

Reportedly over 11,200 food industry unites are active across the country.

Iran’s food products’ export was in rise following the removal of the international sanctions in 2016. The Islamic Republic exported over 1.18 million tons of food products, worth $2.7 billion during the last fiscal year(ended March 20), 8 percent more year on year in terms of value.

The country’s food products’ exports in the first half of the current fiscal year (March 20-Sept. 21) witnessed a rise by 12 percent as well, according to, Mehdi Karimi Tafreshi, the head of the board of directors at Iran’s Food Producers Cooperative.

According to Tafreshi, Iran has the capacity to double its annual food product exports to $5 billion.

Iran’s food products is exported to some 80 countries including Persian Gulf states, Central Asia, Russia, and even European and American countries, he said, adding that Iraq and Afghanistan are main destination of Iranian food products.

Iran annually exports $900 million worth of food products to Iraq, equal to 15 percent of the country’s overall imports, according to Tafreshi.

The Islamic Republic has also taken successful steps in export of food products to Russia. Tehran’s food exports to Russia increased by $140 million during the first half of the current fiscal year to $450 million.

The Islamic Republic currently exports dairy products, dried fruits, fruits and vegetables, raisins, canned food and sweets to Russia, Tafreshi said.

He belives that high price of Iranian food products is a disadvantage for the country, which tries to increase its share from Russian market.

Tafreshi noted that the Iranian government must allocate subside for Iranian food producers and help them to decrease transportation costs.

Experts refer to shortcomings in banking ties as a main obstacle in boosting mutual tade between Tehran and Moscow.

Business magnate and a member of Tehran trade chamber, Asadollah Asgaroladi, also refers to the issue of transportation, saying there is a need for air cargo carriers as dairy products expire soon.

Dairy products had the biggest share in Iran’s food exports, standing at 387,000 tons worth $634 million in last fiscal year.

Besides dairy products, Sweets, chocolate, biscuits and similar products as well as tomato paste, oils, juices and fruit concentrates, compote and canned food, mineral water and pasta are other top Iranian exported products in the food sector.

Iranian officials say that the country’s annual agricultural products stand at 120 million tons, worth $80 million.

The figure includes 82 million tons of crops, 20 million tons of horticultural products, 14 million tons of livestock and over one million tons of fishery products.

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