EghtesadOnline: A total of 800,000 tons of unrefined vegetable oil were imported into Iran during the first seven months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Oct. 22), registering a 10% rise compared with the similar period of last year.
According to Secretary of Vegetable Oil Industries Guild Union Amir-Houshang Birashk, 1.25 million tons of unrefined vegetable oil were imported in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19).
Iran’s demand for unrefined vegetable oils stands at 1.6 million tons per year, IRNA reported.
Every year, $1-1.2 billion worth of unrefined vegetable oil are imported, according to Financial Tribune.
“At present, 85% of our demand for the product are imported. The bulk of imports is palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia, soybean oil from Argentina and sunflower oil from Ukraine and Russia,” he said.
Birashk noted that most of the domestic demand for vegetable oils derived from colza, olives and corn are supplied locally.
There are 25 vegetable oil refining factories in Iran.
According to Alireza Mohajer, director of Agriculture Ministry’s “National Oilseed Project”, Iran imports about $4 billion worth of oilseeds and raw 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,” he said.
“The plan kicked off in late 2015. Our oilseed production stood close to 46,000 tons in the fiscal 2014-15. Last [fiscal] year [March 2018-19], the figure reached 340,000 tons to register a sevenfold increase.”
Mohajer said the Agriculture Ministry plans to expedite the achievement of the 70% goal due to the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran.
Per capita vegetable oil consumption in Iran is about 18-19 kilograms a year while the global average is at 12 kilograms.