EghtesadOnline: Iran recorded an agrifood trade deficit of $4.44 billion in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19), which shows a 5.7% improvement year-on-year.
More than 6.95 million tons of agricultural and food products worth over $6.4 billion were exported from Iran during the period to register a 5.7% decline in value compared with the year before.
The figures were announced by the latest report released by the National Agriculture and Water Strategic Research Center, which draws on data provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, according to Financial Tribune.
Agrifood exports accounted for 5.9% and 14.4% of the total volume and value of Iran's non-oil exports of 117.22 million tons worth $44.31 billion respectively over the period under review, the news portal of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture reported.
The exports mainly included fruits worth $1.6 million, vegetables worth $1.21 billion, milk and dairy products worth $604.7 million, saffron worth $351.5 million and fish and shrimps worth $313.7 million, accounting for 31%, 25.7%, 12.9%, 7.4% and 6.7% of the total value of agrifood exports respectively.
Iraq, Afghanistan, the UAE, Pakistan, Russia, India, Turkey, Vietnam, Turkmenistan and Germany were the biggest export destinations in a descending order, as around 80% of Iran’s agrifood exports went to these 10 countries.
Each ton of agrifood exports was valued at $920 on average, which is 143.4% more than the price of each ton of non-oil exports ($378) over the period.
The import of agrifood products stood at 20.48 million tons valued at $10.84 billion during the same period, which shows a 1% decline in value compared with the corresponding period of the preceding year.
These accounted for 63.9% and 25.4% of the total volume and value of Iran’s total non-oil imports of 32.04 million tons worth $42.61 billion respectively.
The main imported agrifood products during the period included corn (worth $2.11 billion), rice ($1.63 billion), oilcake ($1.57 billion), vegetable oils ($1.43 billion), soybeans ($1.16 billion), red meat ($786.3 million), barley ($603.4 million) and fruits ($395.5 million), accounting for 19.5%, 15%, 14.5%, 13.8%, 10.7%, 7.3%, 5.6% and 3.7% of all agrifood imports last year respectively.
The above-mentioned products accounted for 91% of the total value of agrifood imports over the period.
The biggest exporters to Iran were India ($1.64 billion), Switzerland ($1.37 billion), the UAE ($1.02 billion), the UK ($789 million), the Netherlands ($768 million), Singapore ($755 million), Russia ($668 million), Turkey ($631 million), Brazil ($436 million), Pakistan ($309 million) and Germany ($246 million).
The above-mentioned countries accounted for nearly 80% of Iran's total agrifood imports.
Each ton of agrifood import was valued at $501, which was 62% less than the price for each ton of imported non-oil products over the same period ($1,330).
Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati said Iran meets 85% of its agricultural demand domestically and the rest is provided through imports.
According to the minister, $80 billion worth of agrifood are produced in Iran annually, $75 billion of which are consumed inside the country.
Director General of the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade's Food, Medicine and Toiletries Industries Department Mehdi Sadeqi Niyaraki said 95% of Iran’s food industry are owned by the private sector, noting that the sector accounts for 15% of the country’s industrial employment.