EghtesadOnline: Iran produced 24,500 tons of pesticides during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Nov. 21) to register an increase of 31% compared with last year’s corresponding period.
The country had produced 18,700 tons of the product during the last year’s eight months, the Persian economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad reported, citing data from the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade.
“Seventy-five percent of Iran’s pesticide demand are met domestically, while the remaining 25% are imported,” Mohammad Reza Dargahi, the head of Iran Plant Protection Organization, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Raw materials for pesticide production are imported from India, China and some European countries; then they are processed by 62 domestic companies and distributed in the market.”
According to Financial Tribune, the official added that at present, pesticides are used on 15 million hectares of agronomical and horticultural farms across Iran.
According to Dargahi, Iran’s annual pesticide consumption stands at 25,000-30,000 tons on average.
Mohammad Ali Baghestani, the former head of Iran Plant Protection Organization, said all the domestically-produced pesticides are manufactured in accordance with Food and Agriculture Organization's standards, ILNA reported.
FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security.
Correct Use of Pesticides
Currently, pesticide use in Iranian farms and orchards is between 560 grams and 700 grams per hectare, whereas the global average amounts to 1,200 grams p/h, the director general of the Environment Affairs and Healthy Food Bureau with the Agriculture Ministry said.
“Pesticide use in Iran has been experiencing a downward trend every year. This is because biological methods used to fight pests are becoming more and more popular, and the Agriculture Ministry has been carrying out programs to instruct farmers and orchard owners on the correct use of pesticides,” Saeed Sa’adat was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official said 89 kilograms of fertilizers are used per hectare in the country while the global average stands at 101 kilograms.
Samira Kahak, the head of Iranian Genetics Society, said per capita pesticide use in Iran is around 400 grams per year as opposed to 70 grams in European countries and 80 grams in the United States.
According to Mehdi Hosseini Yazdi, the head of Pesticide and Fertilizer Importers Union, China, India, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Germany and Switzerland are the main exporters of pesticide to Iran, ILNA reported.
The official noted that imports from Asian countries are carried out directly to Iran while purchases made from European countries are first transited to Turkey and then exported to Iran via Turkish companies.
More than 120 million tons of agricultural products are produced in Iran every year.
Self-Sufficiency in Nitrogen Fertilizer Production
As for fertilizers, 80% of domestic demand are met by local production. The remaining 20% are imported from the Netherlands, Bulgaria, China and Lebanon, according to CEO of the Agricultural Support Services Company, affiliated with the Agriculture Ministry.
Hamid Rasouli added that based on reports by the Soil and Water Research Institute, 4 million tons of different kinds of fertilizers are needed by Iran's agriculture sector annually.
Yet, domestic consumption is lower, standing at a third of global standards.
Yazdan Seif, the former managing director of Agricultural Support Services Company, has been quoted as saying that Iran is now producing enough nitrogen fertilizers to meet 100% of its agricultural needs.
“About 6 million tons of nitrogen fertilizers are produced annually. From this amount, 1.7 million tons are used locally and the rest is exported,” he has been quoted as saying by IRNA.
ASSC is a public company under the supervision of Agriculture Ministry responsible for procurement, production and distribution of agricultural inputs in Iran.
According to Abbas Keshavarz, caretaker of Agriculture Ministry, private producers have a 50% share of the domestic fertilizer market.
He added that before Hassan Rouhani took office as president in August 2013, Iran used to import 95% of its fertilizers.
Dublin-based group Research and Market forecasted in 2015 that the Iranian fertilizer market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.5% during 2015-20 due to increasing need for improving the yield of available arable land in the country.
As the Iranian government aims to attain self-sufficiency in the production of staple food crops by 2025, it is anticipated that fertilizer consumption will see a marked increase over the course of the next 5-10 years.
Fertilizers are essential for Iran’s agricultural sector as a major portion of land available for cultivation has poor soil fertility. In addition, due to low precipitation levels, the use of fertilizers becomes necessary to enhance agricultural output.
Owing to abundant natural gas reserves, Iran has several manufacturing facilities engaged in the production of urea and other nitrogen-based fertilizers. However, demand for phosphate and potash fertilizers is predominantly met through imports.
Some of the leading players operating in Iran’s fertilizer market include Pardis Petrochemical Company, Kermanshah Petrochemical Company, Khorasan Petrochemical Company, Razi Petrochemical Company and Shiraz Petrochemical Company.
According to former agriculture minister, Mahmoud Hojjati, Iran meets 85% of its demand for agricultural products domestically and the rest are procured through import.