EghtesadOnline: More than 6 million tons of wheat worth 78 trillion rials ($1.8 billion) have been purchased from local farmers since the beginning of the current harvest season to shore up the country’s strategic reserve of essential commodities.
This was announced by Momen Niyafar, director general of the Government Trading Corporation of Iran’s Commercial Affairs Department.
Khuzestan, Golestan, Fars and Kermanshah top the list of provinces from where the purchases have been made, IRNA reported.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Yazdan Seif said the Iranian government is expected to buy between 10.2 million and 10.5 million tons of wheat from local farmers in the current fiscal year (started March 21), according to Financial Tribune.
“This year’s wheat purchases from local farmers at guaranteed prices began on March 26 in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province’s Sarbaz County,” Seif, who doubles as the head of Government Trading Corporation of Iran, was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
Abbas Keshavarz, deputy agriculture minister for agronomical affairs, said in April that about 13.5 million tons of wheat are estimated to have been produced in the country in the current Iranian year.
At present, he added, wheat is cultivated over 2.05 million hectares of irrigated and 3.85 million hectares of rainfed land. The ministry is planning to decrease the land under wheat cultivation and increase productivity on farms, so as to reduce the amount of water and energy used in the cultivation process.
Iran has been self-sufficient in wheat production for two years now and only imports the crop for reexportation after it is processed.
More than 8.87 million tons of wheat worth 116 trillion rials ($2.83 billion) were purchased from Iranian farmers by the government last year.
A record high of 14 million tons of wheat were domestically produced the year before, more than 11.76 million tons of which worth over $4 billion were purchased by the government from local farmers at guaranteed prices. This helped Iran achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production for the first time after about a decade.
GTC is a government-owned company specializing in the purchase, import and distribution of essential foodstuff. It is the lever for enforcing market controls. The company is also in charge of maintaining a supply of wheat, rice, cooking oil and meat for the country’s strategic reserve of essential goods.
The Iranian government’s approach to control the local market for strategic crops is to purchase the crops from farmers in bulk, store in reserves and then distribute them throughout the year as needed.