Iran: Wheat Imports From Russia Halves
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The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 13 million tons of Wheat were produced in Iran in 2022, over 28% more than 10.1 million tons in 2021. According to FAO, Iran is among the world’s major Wheat producers. The quarterly global Crop Prospects and Food Situation report’s forecast for 2023 production remains the same at 13 million tons. Only 17% of the agricultural land across the world are under Wheat cultivation, yet the figure in Iran stands at 50%.
Despite the substantial rise in output, last year’s production was slightly below the five-year annual average of 13.2 million tons, the report added. China is by far the world’s biggest producer, with 134.8 million tons in terms of the five-year annual average production. India, Russia, the US, Canada, Australia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Turkey, and Argentina follow before Iran with estimated outputs of 105.6, 82.2, 48.7, 31.3, 27.4, 26, 25.6, 19.4, and 18.4 million tons, respectively. Kazakhstan, with 13 million tons, comes after Iran.
The Government Trading Corporation of Iran says it has registered a significant increase in buying Wheat from local farmers in the current Iranian year (March 2022-23), resulting in a substantial decline in imports. GTC, affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture, ensures an adequate supply of essential goods, including Wheat, rice, cooking oil, sugar, and meat, to the local market.
According to the GTC, Iran’s Wheat storage capacity currently stands at 21.41 million tons, making it one of the Middle East’s most significant. The silos, located in 158 parts of the country, include metal, concrete, and mechanized storages with a capacity of 18.01 million tons of Wheat for long-term periods and simple semi-mechanized warehouses with a total of 3.4 million tons of grain for short-term periods,
“Despite widespread drought across the country, [the volume of] guaranteed Wheat purchases from farmers have reached 7.2 million tons this year following support policies such as 130% increase in prices and other incentives like 50% reduction in prices of agricultural inputs [provided by the Government],” said Deputy Minister of Agriculture Saeed Raad. Considered a staple grain in Iran, the Government purchases Wheat every crop year at guaranteed prices from local farmers to build up its reserves and supply the market over time.
Raad noted that part of this year’s Wheat purchases had been supplied to bakeries nationwide for bread, and the rest has been stored in silos for future reserves. “Last year [March 2021-22], only 4.7 million tons of Wheat were purchased from farmers,” he explained. According to the official, Iran moved to fill its Wheat reserves following the global food security crisis due to drought and war in Ukraine. Over the past nine months, he noted that 3.24 million tons of Wheat had been imported, adding that the figure stood at 5.29 million tons during the corresponding period of last year.
Wheat Import in Iran
According to AgFlow data, Iran imported 29,250 tons of Wheat from Russia in Q1 2023, followed by Ukraine (8,500 tons). Earlier, Mehr News Agency reported that Iran imported 1.8 million tons of Wheat from Russia in 2022 to register a 54.5% decline compared with 2021, adding that Iran was Russia’s third biggest grain buyer last year.
Iran imported 96.48 million tons of Wheat worth more than $22.84 billion over the past 30 years, a former spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration said recently. The highest volume of imports was registered in fiscal 2014-15, with 7.43 million tons, 2021-22, with 7.07 million tons; and 2001-2, with 6.77 million tons. The private sector has been allowed to place orders for Wheat imports as of August 2020.
Other sources: FINANCIAL TRIBUNE
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