EghtesadOnline; Domestic demand for wheat in Iran currently amounts to 12 million tons per year, according to CEO of the National Foundation of Elite Farmers Ali Khan-Mohammadi.
Some 14 million tons of the crop are estimated to have been produced in the last Iranian year (March 2019-20), of which only around 8.8 million tons were purchased by the government, the Statistical Center of Iran reported.
“There was no decrease in wheat production last year, but due to low guaranteed prices, farmers refrained from selling their harvest to the government,” Ataollah Hashemi, the head of the National Wheat Farmers Foundation, was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official added that wheat was cultivated across 6.2 million hectares in the fiscal 2019-20, estimating production to hit 14 million tons.
Khan-Mohammadi said that due to favorable weather and ample precipitation, the quality of wheat is the best the country has had in over 10 years.
The government permitted the import of 3 million tons of wheat in January, 1.6 million tons of which have so far been unloaded in Iranian ports. Some 400,000 tons have also arrived and are ready to be unloaded at the ports of Imam Khomeini, Bandar Abbas and Chabahar, the director general of the Government Trading Corporation's Commercial Services Department, said last week.
“The remaining 1 million tons will be imported by May 20,” Hassan Nejadfallah was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
Guaranteed Price Purchase
Last year, the government bought common wheat for 17,000 rials (around $0.10) per kilo setting this year’s guaranteed prices at 22,000 rials ($0.13).
This year, each kilo of common and durum wheat will be purchased by the government at guaranteed prices for 25,000 rials (around $0.15) and 26,000 rials ($0.16) respectively, showing a 40% increase compared with that of last year.
Every year, the government buys strategic crops, including wheat as well as sugarbeet, tea, barley, cotton boll and oilseeds, from local farmers at guaranteed prices to control prices in the domestic market and fill its strategic reserves.
Wheat harvest has begun in the south of the country where the weather is warm and dry. A ceremony was held in Bushehr Province’s Deyr County on April 4 to celebrate what is estimated to be a bountiful yield.
Esmaeil Esfandiarpour, the official in charge of the “Wheat Project”—the government program to purchase the crop from farmers at a guaranteed price, said yields are going to be high due to high levels of precipitation.
The official added that the government aims to purchase around 10.5 million tons of the grain from farmers across the country.
Aliqoli Imani, the deputy head of National Wheat Farmers Foundation, told Young Journalists Club on Monday that so far, the government has bought 600,000 tons of the grain worth around 15 quadrillion rials ($93.75 million) from local farmers.
Fiscal 2018-19 Performance
A total of 12.7 million tons of wheat were produced on 6.5 million hectares of farmland across the country in the fiscal 2018-19, according to a new SCI report.
Some 626,000 tons of seeds were used to cultivate this volume of wheat.
The main provinces producing the grain over the period were Khuzestan with 1.56 million tons, Golestan with 959,000, Kurdestan with 958,000, East Azarbaijan with 832,000, Khorasan Razavi with 820,000, Hamedan with 803,000, West Azarbaijan with 801,000, Fars with 788,000 and Kermanshah with 752,000 tons.
The report noted that around 11,700 tons of the staple grain were imported during the period while exports hit 189,000 tons.
SCI put domestic demand for wheat at 10.4 million tons in the fiscal 2018-19 while close to 1.5 million tons of wheat were used as animal feed.