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Iran’s Food Exports Booming

The share of food and processing industries’ exports in Iran’s total non-oil exports in terms of value in H1 increased by 7% YOY
Iran’s nominal food production capacity stands at 100 million tons per year, while only 40 million tons are utilized annually at present.Iran’s nominal food production capacity stands at 100 million tons per year, while only 40 million tons are utilized annually at present.
With around $118 million worth of exports, chocolate products were the main item shipped from Iran to overseas destinations during the six months

Iran’s exports in food and processing industries witnessed a 9.3% and 23.4% rise in value and volume respectively.

These exports rose to 923,000 tons worth $1.4 billion during the six months to Sept. 22 from 748,000 tons worth $1.28 billion in the corresponding period of last year, IRNA reported.

“With around $118 million worth of exports, chocolate products were the main item shipped from Iran to overseas destinations during the six months. Other major exports include dairy products, tomato paste, juice and concentrate,” Kaveh Zargaran, secretary-general of the Federation of Iranian Food Associations, announced.

The official noted that the increase in exports by food and processing industries came, as Iran’s agro product exports saw a 2.5% decline in value and volume during the period under review year-on-year.

According to Zargaran, the fall in agro exports owes mainly to decline in the exports of pistachio and apple.

Although pistachio exports decreased considerably by 43% and 48% in value and weight respectively during the period, the delicacy still tops Iran’s agro exports. A total of $63 million worth of pistachio was exported in H1 from Iran.

The share of food and processing industries’ exports in Iran’s total non-oil exports in terms of value during the period increased by 7% YOY. This is while the value of total non-oil exports witnessed a 3% YOY decrease during the period.

 Dairy Exports Earn $500m

Dairy exports earned close to $500 million during the six months. According to Zargaran, government support in the form of subsidy has played a major role in boosting dairy exports.

“If the current trend of dairy exports continues and nothing comes on the way, a one-billion-dollar record by the yearend is likely,” he added.

According to the official, dairy exports earned $773 million in the last fiscal year to March 2017.

Among the exported products, yogurt topped the list with $218 million, followed by cheese with $187 million, infant formula with $129 million and cream and ice cream with $120 million.

 Rise in Agro Imports

Zargaran said the country imported about 9 million tons of agro products worth $5.90 billion during the six-month period, registering a 13% and 26% rise in weight and value respectively year-over-year.

Rice, corn, soybean, unprocessed vegetable oil and veal were major agricultural products imported into the country during the period.

Rice imports, with a 37% share (around $996 million) in total imports, registered a staggering 108% year-on-year jump in value.

Close to 3.5 million tons of corn worth $813 million were imported, marking a rise of 40% and 29% in tonnage and value respectively. Soybean imports rose by 11% in value, registering 1.18 million tons worth $620 million.

Unprocessed vegetable oil imports stood at around $600 million, indicating an 85% hike.

Veal imports worth $231 million had a 26% YOY increase in value.

Iran’s nominal food production capacity stands at 100 million tons per year. However, currently, only 40 million tons are produced annually in the country, which indicate a large gap.

“There is a noticeable production deficiency in the country’s food industry while food exports generate the highest amount of value added,” Mehdi Sadeqi-Niaraki, an official with the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, has been quoted as saying by IRNA.

“Last year (March 2016-17), Iran exported $2.958 billion worth of food products,” he said.

Sadeqi-Niaraki noted that Iran is targeting the export of $6.5 billion worth of food products annually by the fiscal 2025-26.

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