EghtesadOnline: Iran exported agricultural products worth $5 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year (March 21-Sept. 22), around 50% of which, amounting over $2.5 billion, pertained to orchard crops.
“Iran produces more than 23 million tons of horticultural products on over 2.8 million hectares of orchards every year,” Mohammad Ali Tahmasebi, deputy agriculture minister for horticultural affairs, was quoted as saying by IRNA on Saturday.
Exports of orchard crops are estimated to experience an upsurge this year, he added.
Iran experienced abundant rainfall at the beginning of the current year, because of which agricultural officials are expecting higher crop yields, according to Financial Tribune.
The country ranks among top 10 producers of many horticultural products, including but not limited to pistachios, dates, apples, cherries, pomegranates and grapes, in the world.
Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati said Iran meets 85% of its demand for agricultural products domestically and the remaining 15% are procured through imports.
According to the minister, $80 billion worth of agricultural products are annually produced in Iran, $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.
Iran recorded an agrifood trade deficit of over $4.44 billion in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19), which shows a 5.7% improvement year-on-year.
A total of 6.95 million tons of agricultural and food products worth $6.4 billion were exported from Iran during the period to register a 5.7% decline in value compared with the year before, according to the National Agriculture and Water Strategic Research Center.
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 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 during the period 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.
Agrifood imports 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.
Imports 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 ($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), which account for 19.5%, 15%, 14.5%, 13.8%, 10.7%, 7.3%, 5.6% and 3.7% of all agrifood imports during last year respectively.
The above-mentioned products accounted for 91% of the total value of agrifood imports over the period.
India ($1.64 billion), Switzerland ($1.37 billion), the UAE ($1.02 billion), the UK ($789 million), the Netherlands ($768), Singapore ($755 million), Russia ($668 million), Turkey ($631million), Brazil ($436 million), Pakistan ($309 million) and Germany ($246 million) were the biggest exporters to Iran.
These countries accounted for nearly 80% of Iran's total agrifood imports.
Each ton of agrifood import was valued at around $501, which was 62% less than the price of each ton of imported non-oil products over the same period ($1,330).