Province Meets 80% of Iran's Food Demand
EghtesadOnline: East Azarbaijan Province exported agricultural products worth $220 million during the seven months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Oct. 22) to register a 48% growth compared with last year’s corresponding period.
According to Akbar Fathi, the head of East Azarbaijan Agricultural Jihad Organization, the province has a 4.5% share in Iran’s total agricultural exports, IRNA reported.
Agro exports from the province hit $33 million during the seventh Iranian month (Sept. 23-Oct. 22), indicating a 65% rise compared to the month before.
“Agricultural products make up 13% of the province’s total non-oil exports,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
Raisins, dairy products, day-old chicken, tomato paste, apple juice, onions, lettuce and cabbage are the main agricultural products exported from East Azarbaijan.
The province has more than 50 countries as its export destinations, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, India, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the UAE.
The agriculture sector in East Azarbaijan has a 12% share in Iran’s gross domestic product, 20% share in employment and an 80% share in meeting food demand.
The province is home to 1.22 million hectares of farms.
Younes Jaeleh, the head of Tabriz Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, says exports from East Azarbaijan Province are expected to reach $3 billion by the end of the current Iranian year (March 19, 2020).
Tabriz is the capital of East Azarbaijan.
According to Jaeleh, 1.6 million tons of commodities worth $1.8 billion were exported from the province during the first seven months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Oct. 22) to register a 97% and 50% growth in tonnage and value respectively compared with last year’s corresponding period.
Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Georgia and China were the main export destinations during the period under review, IRNA reported.
More than 311,000 tons of goods worth over $700 million were imported into the northwestern Iranian province during the seven months, indicating a 74% and 35% rise in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.
Raw materials and machinery were major commodities imported into East Azarbaijan.
According to Jaeleh, the 25th National Non-Oil Export Promotion Conference was held in Tabriz on Nov. 20.
The event was organized with the aim of exchanging ideas on abolishing problematic laws and regulations, and devising facilitating regulations for commercial exchanges and boosting exports with a focus on solutions to improving the business environment, promoting exports and having a stronger presence in international markets.
“The heads of chambers of commerce of neighboring countries were invited to attend the conference,” Jaeleh said, adding that the heads of chambers of commerce from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iraq were special guests of the conference.
The heads of chambers of commerce from Eurasian nations were also invited.
Ardeshir Sa’d Mohammadi, the head of the National Iranian Copper Industries Company (NICICO), says about $1 billion have already been invested in copper mining and production in the East Azerbaijan Province—an industrial and business hub near the Iranian-Turkish border, Fars News Agency reported.
He noted that Iran is hopeful of meeting one-fifth of Turkey’s copper demand by increasing investment in mining and production of the precious metal in East Azerbaijan.
The official added that the investment plans were aimed at allowing Iran to raise its share of copper exports to Turkey that is importing 500,000 tons of copper cathode from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan every year.
Sa’d Mohammadi said NICICO’s main objective was to enable the copper industry in East Azarbaijan to capture at least 20% of Turkey’s import market within the next two years.
He added that copper projects implemented in the region included a smelter, a refinery and a third phase of concentrate production at the sprawling Sungun Mine, the largest open-cast copper mine in Iran located around 150 kilometers from the provincial capital of Tabriz, Iran’s sixth largest city.
Sa’d Mohammadi said development of the copper industry in northwest Iran was an urgent necessity given the rising demand for the metal in the world.