Economy, Business And Markets

En Route to Wheat Self-Sufficiency

En Route to Wheat Self-SufficiencyEn Route to Wheat Self-Sufficiency

Iran is well on its way to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production in the new Iranian year (started March 20), says the agriculture minister.

“Until two years ago, we had to import around 6 million tons of the crop,” Mahmoud Hojatti added.

Earlier this week, Hojjati was quoted as saying that "there is no need to import wheat in the new Iranian year, thanks to the adequate reserves”.

His comments come as the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade allows conditional imports of wheat.

“Wheat import is possible, once the needed permits are secured from the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad,” deputy industries minister, Mohammad Reza Modoudi, said on Monday.

“As per the decision taken by the Cabinet during its final session last year, a 10% tariff rate has been set for wheat imports. Nonetheless, any import of the crop depends on the country’s needs and the Agriculture Ministry’s decision,” Mehr News Agency quoted Modoudi as saying.


> Government's Guaranteed Purchase

The government has allocated 134.2 trillion rials ($3.83 billion at market exchange rate) for wheat purchases in the new Iranian year (started March 20, 2016), IRNA quoted government spokesman, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, as saying on Tuesday.

“The amount is enough to meet the domestic need in the current year.”

Noting that the government is expected to purchase 10 million tons of wheat from farmers, Nobakht said, “The move is in line with substituting domestic products for imports. As we speak, over 6 million tons of wheat have been stored as per the commodity strategy plan.”

According to Esmaeil Esfandiaripour, the official in charge of the "Wheat Project"—the government policy to purchase the crop from farmers at a guaranteed price—recently around 1,000 tons of wheat harvested in the provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Bushehr and Hormozgan have been purchased from farmers.

“Local farmers in Sistan-Baluchestan started harvesting wheat on March 7,” he added.

“The government will pay 12,705 rials (around 36 cents at market exchange rate) for each kilogram of common wheat and 13,068 rials (around 37 cents) for durum wheat.”

Esfandiaripour noted that around 11.5 million tons of wheat were produced in the country last year, adding that the government bought a total of 8.08 million tons of that amount.

“The figure registers a 20% rise compared to the figure produced in the year ending March 20, 2015,” he said.  

“Last year saw the country meet 85% of its need for the staple food through domestic production. Hopefully, the figure will go beyond 90% this year.”

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