EghtesadOnline: A total of 30,400 tons of red meat were produced in Iran during the month ending June 20 to register a 39% rise compared with the similar month of last year.
Red meat output witnessed a 1.5% month-on-month decline.
The Statistical Center of Iran's latest report shows beef accounted for 17,200 tons or 56.4% of the overall production, indicating a year-on-year increase of 41%.
A total of 10,500 tons of lamb (up 40% YOY), 2,100 tons of goat meat (up 24% YOY) and 623.1 tons of meat from other types of livestock were produced during the one-month period, accounting for 34.5%, 7% and 2.1% of the total output respectively, SCI reported on its website.
Morteza Rezaei, the deputy agriculture minister for livestock affairs, was quoted as saying by IRNA that Iran’s red meat production is projected to rise by 2-3% by the end of the current fiscal year (March 2021), bringing the country closer to self-sufficiency.
“Iran’s red meat production stood at 859,000 tons last [fiscal] year [ended March 19, 2020]. The output is expected to hit 880,000 tons by the year's end. To fulfill the production deficit, up to 160,000 tons of red meat are imported annually,” he said, underlining that measures are underway to cut the dependency on imports and boost production capacity and productivity.
To this end, 158 projects in developing livestock and poultry breeding sectors will be implemented by the Iranian yearend, which will also help create around 16,000 jobs.
According to the head of Iran’s Livestock Exporters National Assembly, excessive livestock production over the past few months, combined with a significant decline in red meat consumption due to the coronavirus pandemic, has led to a massive surplus in the cattle farming sector.
“Latest statistics show the domestic market normally requires around 60 million head of light livestock per year, but currently it exceeded by 12 million above average,” Mansour Pourian was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
“This has put farmers under immense pressure, making them face a wide range of challenges, including excessive costs, shortage of feed and aging of their cattle.”
The government banned the exports of livestock in the last Iranian year to help increase supply in the domestic market. However, excessive imports amid the hike in domestic production and the huge fall in consumption created the current problem.
Calling on the government to lift the ban on exports, Pourian said “unconditional exports” will be key to prevent any further losses in this critical situation.
Ahmad Moqaddasi, the head of Cattle Farmers Association, said in April that there is a surplus of 200,000 beef cattle ready to head for Iran's industrial-scale slaughterhouses, but the decline in consumption due to coronavirus has hampered the process.
The top 10 red meat producing provinces in Iran are Khorasan Razavi, Fars, East Azarbaijan, Mazandaran, West Azarbaijan, Isfahan, Khuzestan, Tehran, Ardabil and Hamedan.
Imports are made from the Commonwealth of Independent States as well as from Brazil and Australia.
Before the coronavirus, 90% of domestic demand for red meat were supplied domestically.
“The consumption of red meat has registered a 60% decline, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus and shutdown of restaurants and ceremony halls,” Pourian said.