Domestic Economy

As Onion Prices Soar, Agriculture Ministry Ups Export Duty to 180%, Begins to Import

As Onion Prices Soar, Agriculture Ministry Ups Export Duty to 180%, Begins to Import
As Onion Prices Soar, Agriculture Ministry Ups Export Duty to 180%, Begins to Import

The Ministry of Agriculture has raised export duty for onion to 180% in an attempt to rein in the rising prices in the domestic market.
This is the second time in about a month’s time the duties on onion exports have increased. Last time it rose from 50 to 100 percent.
According to the Statistical Center of Iran, onion prices in local market rose by a whopping 43.9% in the tenth month of the current Iranian year (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) compared to the month before; that is in a span of a single month’s time.
The rise in prices comes as onion is abundantly produced in Iran. So much so that the vegetable has been increasingly exported from the country in huge volumes.
A total of 246,000 tons of onions worth $34 million were exported from Iran during the seven months from the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21-Oct. 22), according to the head of the Agriculture Ministry’s Export Department.
The exports stood at 162,000 worth $27.2 million in the same period of last Iranian year (March 2021-22).
“The export volume stood at 101,000 tons worth $14 million in the seventh month of the year [Sept. 23-Oct. 22]. Part of this export was due to the increase in Pakistan's demand,” Maharram Soltani was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Noting that exports in the seventh month of last year stood at 71,000, he said: “Recent floods in Pakistan have increased the export of vegetable, including onions, to this country.”
More than three million tons of onions are expected to be produced in Iran in the current year (March 2022-23), on 61,707 hectares of farmland across the country, to register 11.67% decline compared with last year, according to another Agriculture Ministry official.
“During the first half of the year [March 21-Sept. 22], more than 1.4 tons of onions were produced in Iran, and we expect for 1.6 million more to be produced by year’s end [in March 2023],” Hosseing Asghari was quoted by IRNA as saying.
The official added that onions are cultivated in 30 out of 31 Iranian provinces.
“Kerman with 600,000 tons, Fars with 500,000 tons, Hormozgan with 350,000 tons, Isfahan with 350,000 tons, and Kermanshah with 200,000 tons are the top five producers of onions in Iran.”
He added that last year’s production stood at more than 3.4 million tons, adding that the reason for the decline in yields is drought and scarcity of water resources.
“We exported close to 157,000 tons to Pakistan and Iraq during the first six months of the current year. Last year’s overall exports stood at 410,000 tons worth around $85.3 million.”
Officials are blaming the rising prices in local market on smuggling of onion to neighboring countries.
Now the Agriculture Ministry says it is importing onion to control the prices. It says plans are afoot to import 50,000 tons as a shipment of 100,000 tons has already been unloaded at Jask Port in the southern Hormozgan Province.

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