EghtesadOnline: Iran's International Rice Trade Center and Export Terminal was inaugurated in the city of Amol, located in the northern Mazandaran Province, on Aug. 21, in the presence of First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri.
The center has been established with private investment amounting to over 1 trillion rials ($8.58 million) over 17 hectares with the aim of eliminating intermediaries in the production and distribution chains of rice, according to the news service of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
The first development phase of the center will help create 2,000 jobs. The upcoming phases include the establishment of a modern sorting and packaging factory with an annual capacity of 24,000 tons, establishment of a rice processing factory and establishment of a tourism complex, among others.
As Jahangiri said during the inauguration ceremony of the center, Mazandaran is among Iran’s top agricultural producers and plays a crucial role in the country’s food security, according to Financial Tribune.
According to the director general of the Agriculture Ministry's Grains and Essential Goods Department, domestic rice production is expected to reach 2.5 million tons by the end of the current Iranian year (March 19, 2020).
Faramak Aziz Karimi added that rice cultivation is now restricted to the two northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, Mehr News Agency reported.
"Rice cultivation will initially be restricted for three years, as farmers will receive no facilities or support from the government in provinces other than Gilan and Mazandaran during the period,” Alimorad Akbari, deputy agriculture minister for water and soil affairs, said.
After the three years, there will be an all-out ban on rice cultivation, except in Gilan and Mazandaran.
Iranians consume more than 3 million tons of rice per annum. The deficit between domestic production and demand is imported from the UAE, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey and Iraq.
Every year and during the rice harvest season, the government bans rice imports in support of local farmers and domestic production.
The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade has recently lifted its seasonal ban on rice imports.