EghtesadOnline: Colza production in Iran since the beginning of the current Iranian year (started March 21) has reached 355,000 tons, which marks a 30-year high, the director of Agriculture Ministry’s “National Oilseed Project” said.
The government has purchased colza from local farmers at guaranteed prices. Previously, it was estimated that purchases would reach 320,000 tons by the end of the harvest season, which is coming to an end this week.
The Iranian government’s approach to control the local market for strategic crops is to purchase crops from farmers in bulk, store in reserves and then distribute them throughout the year, according to Financial Tribune.
“Close to 130,000 tons of vegetable oil will be derived from this amount of colza. The production of other oilseeds such as sunflower, safflower and sesame seeds combined is estimated to exceed 150,000 tons this year,” Alireza Mohajer was also quoted as saying by Young Journalists Club.
The official added that the overall oilseed production will provide the country with some 160,000 tons of vegetable oil in the current year.
“This will meet around 14% of the domestic demand for the product. As such, imports of oilseeds and raw vegetable oils will decrease by nearly $450 million,” he said.
According to Mohajer, Iran imports some $4 billion worth of oilseeds and raw vegetable oils.
The Agriculture Ministry plans to achieve 70% self-sufficiency in oilseed production within the next 10 years to curb the import of oilseeds and vegetable oil.
Exports of all kinds of refined vegetable oils have been banned since July 31. This was announced by Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari in a directive sent to the Iranian Vegetable Oil Industry Association.
The measure has been taken in a bid to make up for supply shortages in the domestic market.
As subsidized foreign exchange is used to import raw vegetable oils, the move is also aimed at ending the export of subsidies allocated from government resources, the website of the association reported.
There is said to be an annual outflow of $4 billion spent on the import of raw oil, oilseed meal and soybean.
Iran meets over 90% of its domestic demand for raw vegetable oil through imports, but exports over 10% of its refined vegetable oil annually.
Iran’s demand for raw vegetable oil stands at 1.5 million tons per year, 1.4 million tons of which are imported from Ukraine, South America and Malaysia, and the rest is procured via domestic oilseed production.
Iran’s per capita vegetable oil consumption is estimated to be 20 kilograms a year, 7 kilograms higher than the global average.