EghtesadOnline: Iran exported 2 million tons of agricultural and food products worth over $1.25 billion during the first three months of the current fiscal year (March 20-June 20).
The figures indicate a 16.29% rise in tonnage, but a 3.69% decline in value compared with last year’s corresponding period, the Agriculture Ministry’s website reported.
Fresh and dried pistachio topped the list of exports in terms of value, as the country exported $122.18 million worth of it during the three-month period.
Tomato was the second major agricultural export product in terms of value with $121.68 million, followed by watermelon with $101.78 million, apple with $52.02 million, potato with $26.39 million, sweets and white chocolate with $34.7 million and tomato paste with $32.23 million.
In terms of tonnage, watermelons topped the list with 461,440 tons, followed by tomatoes with 260,220 tons, potato with 145,210 tons, apples with 137,900 tons and melons with 102,290 tons.
Agronomical products accounted for 1.44 million tons worth $548.23 million of total exports, up 7.57% in terms of tonnage and down 13.65% in terms of value year-on-year.
Horticultural exports stood at 403,370 tons worth $444.28 million, up 59.08% and 12.04% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Exports of livestock and poultry products stood at 138,760 tons worth $137.07 million, up 27.18% in tonnage and down 10.62% in value YOY.
The veterinary sector exported 52 tons of products worth $303,000, up 61.94% in tonnage and down 40.54% in value YOY.
The fisheries sector exported 23,480 tons worth $47.78 million, marking an increase of 2.14% and 14.99% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Exports from the forest and rangeland sector hit 3,750 tons worth $5.97 million, up 2.45% and 26.89% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
31% Decline in Import Value
Imports during the three-month period under review stood at 6.9 million tons worth $2.61 billion, indicating a 2.13% growth in tonnage but a 31.46% decrease in value year-on-year.
Livestock corn had the biggest share in total imports in terms of value with $587.94 million, followed by wheat with $537.4 million, semi-polished and polished rice with $205.26 million, soymeal with $169.71 million and raw sugar with $152.14 million.
In terms of tonnage, corn feed topped imports with 2,28 million tons, followed by wheat with 1.94 million tons, barley with 541,380 tons, raw sugar with 428,850 tons and soymeal with 380,900 tons.
Agronomical products accounted for 6.68 million tons worth $2.31 billion of total imports, up 2.57% in tonnage and down 31.48% in value respectively YOY.
Horticultural products stood at 240,190 tons worth $251.92 million, down 16% and 26.61% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Imports of livestock and poultry products hit 31,280 tons worth $133.90 million, down 70.63% and 75.18% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
The veterinary sector imported 97 tons worth $12.67 million, down 76.11% and 8.96% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Imports by the fisheries sector amounted to 3,940 tons worth $8.35 million, up 24.71% in tonnage and down 22.09% in value YOY.
Imports from the forest and rangeland sector totaled 6,300 tons worth $7.4 million, up 89.53% in tonnage and down 35.47% in value YOY.
The export and import volumes suggest that Iran recorded an agrifood trade deficit of 4.84 million tons in tonnage and $1.36 billion in value during the three months under review.
Abundant Rainfalls to Boost Yields by 3m Tons
Agricultural yields are expected to improve by 3 million tons, thanks to the current good rainfall year, says Esmaeil Esfandiyarpour, an official with Agriculture Ministry.
Out of nearly 18 million hectares of Iran's farmlands, 12 million hectares are rain-fed. The impact of rainfalls is more significant in arid areas in the central, southern, eastern and southeastern regions struggling for long with water shortages, draught and extended dry seasons since most of their farms are rain-fed.
Precipitation this year has decreased 5% compared with last year but improved 32% over long-term average, the official has told Persian-language daily Iran.
Farmers say the lushness of the rain-fed wheat produced this year is similar to crops grown with irrigation systems.
“Iran’s output of agricultural products is expected to reach 128 million tons by the end of the current fiscal year [March 2021],” says Shahrokh Shajari, director general of Agriculture Ministry 's Export Expansion Bureau.
Agriculture was the only sector experiencing growth in the last Iranian year (March 2019-20).
According to the Statistical Center of Iran, the sector expanded by 3% during the period.
The overall Iranian economy experienced a -7% contraction in the fiscal 2019-20.
According to the center, GDP shrank by -0.6% without taking oil production into account.
The sectors of "industries and mines", and ""services" saw a respective contraction of 14.7% and 0.3%.
The significant boost in agricultural production owes largely to abundant rainfall at the beginning of the year, which led to increased yields of crops.
The agriculture sector currently accounts for $40 billion or 8% of Iran's annual gross domestic product.
According to Agriculture Minister Kazem Khavazi, 4.3 million farmers employed in the sector produce 124 million tons of agricultural products per year on more than 18.5 million hectares.
Agronomical products, the minister says, account for over 83.5 million tons of the total sum, he added.
According to the minister, presently there are 14.3 million hectares of forests, 84 million hectares of pastures, 2.7 million hectares of woodland and 32.6 million hectares of deserts in Iran.
$165m in Losses Caused by Coronavirus
The novel coronavirus has caused 39,500 billion rials ($165 million) in losses to Iran’s food and agriculture consumption and export sectors, a recent report by the research arm of Iranian Parliament suggests.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization says the coronavirus pandemic is impacting global food systems, disrupting regional agricultural value chains and posing risks to household food security.
Large-scale lockdowns to contain the coronavirus outbreak have hurt manpower supply and disrupted supply chains in the agriculture industry.
However, according to Majlis Research Center, the production and supply chains of farm, livestock and horticultural crops in Iran were less prone to be affected by the contagion, given the freedom of movement of agricultural products in the country.