Domestic Economy

Wheat Production, Gov’t Purchases Forge Ahead Full Throttle

Wheat Production, Gov’t Purchases Forge Ahead Full ThrottleWheat Production, Gov’t Purchases Forge Ahead Full Throttle

More than 3.6 million tons of wheat worth about $1.3 billion at market exchange rate have been purchased by the government from local farmers since early April, registering a 25% increase compared with the corresponding period of last year, according to CEO of Government Trading Organization of Iran.

“Most of the purchases have been made from the provinces of Khuzestan in the south, Golestan in the north and Fars in the southwest,” ISNA also quoted Ali Qanbari as saying.

The government estimates it will have bought up to 10 million tons worth $3.7 billion by yearend (March 2017). The figure amounted to 8.08 million tons last year, showing a 1-million-ton surge compared with the previous year.

“Iran could achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production in the next 2-3 years,” says Esmaeil Esfandiaripour, an advisor to the Agriculture Minister.

Currently 85% of domestic demand for wheat are met by domestic production, which share is expected to reach 95% by the yearend (March 2017).

Iran imported 3.31 million tons of the crop worth $885.9 million from 29 countries last year (March 2015-16). This year, however, according to Esfandiaripour, with regard to abundant reserves, which Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati put at 6 million tons back in April, and an estimated production of 12.5-13 million tons, the ministry has placed a ban on imports, which is to remain in place by the yearend.

Domestic wheat production stood at 11.5 million tons last year.

The government stores grains for the purpose of balancing supply and demand and minimizing the risk of shortages.

Moreover, as Qanbari puts it, a possible export of two million tons is in the cards for this year.

Iran was ranked 11th biggest producer of wheat worldwide in 2015 for the third consecutive year, according to a recent report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In its latest report on Iran’s agriculture sector, the Business Monitor International, which is owned by Fitch Ratings Inc., estimates that Iran’s wheat production will reach 16 million by 2019/20, adding that wheat yields are expected to improve owing to the modernization of technology, greater access to relevant inputs and a larger area of the country benefiting from new irrigation facilities.