EghtesadOnline: More than 400,000 tons of colza have been produced in Iran during the current Iranian year (started March 21), showing a 20% increase compared with the similar period of last year, the director of Agriculture Ministry’s “National Oilseed Project” said.
“This year’s colza production season has ended,” Alireza Mohajer also told Young Journalists Club on Tuesday.
“Close to 160,000 tons of oil will be extracted from colza, the import of which would have cost $400-450 million.”
The official noted that the government has purchased 380,000 tons of this year’s colza production as part of its guaranteed purchase scheme, according to Financial Tribune.
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.
“Plans are to increase land under colza cultivation and produce around 600,000 tons of this oilseed next year,” he said.
The provinces of Golestan in the north, Ardabil in northwest and Khuzestan in southern Iran are top producers of colza oilseeds in Iran.
Mohajer said other oilseeds have not been harvested yet, but it is estimated that 80,000 tons of soybeans, 60,000-70,000 tons of sesame seeds, more than 30,000 tons of safflower and around 40,000 tons of sunflower seeds will be produced by the fiscal yearend (March 19, 2020).
According to Mohajer, Iran imports $4 billion worth of oilseeds and unprocessed vegetable oils.
The ministry plans to achieve 70% self-sufficiency in the production of oilseeds in a 10-year program to keep imports of oilseeds and vegetable oil in check.
“The plan kicked off in late 2015. Our oilseed production stood at close to 46,000 tons in the fiscal 2014-15. Last year, the figure reached 340,000 tons to register a sevenfold increase.”
The official added that due to the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran the Agriculture Ministry plans to expedite reaching the 70% goal.
Per capita vegetable oil consumption in Iran is about 18-19 kilograms a year while the global average is 12 kilograms.