EghtesadOnline: In a letter to the Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari, Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati has called for reinstating the ban on rice imports until further notice due to excessive imports.
More than 1.06 million tons of rice worth over $1 billion were imported during the seven months to Oct. 22, indicating a 40% rise in weight compared with last year’s similar period, which exceed domestic demand when added to the annual local production, Mehr News Agency reported on Monday.
Every year, during the rice harvest season, the government bans rice imports to support local farmers and production. Import tariffs have increased from 22% four years ago to 40% at present for the same reason.
The temporary ban was lifted last Tuesday as per a directive by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade and was supposed to last until July 22, 2018, according to Financial Tribune.
“We need imports, but imports that are limited and controlled,” Hojjati said earlier.
Iranians consume 3 million tons of rice a year while domestic production stands at 2.2 million tons. Therefore, there is a need for around 800,000 tons of imports every year.
According to the Central and West Asia Rice Center, with around 54% of Central and West Asia’s paddy fields located in Iran, the country accounts for 61% of the regions’ combined rice production.
The two northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran are home to a majority of Iran’s paddy fields.