EghtesadOnline: A total of 36,200 tons of red meat were produced in Iran during the fourth month of the current Iranian year (June 21-July 21) to register a 44% rise compared with the similar month of last year.
Meat output witnessed a 19% month-on-month growth, the Statistical Center of Iran's latest report shows.
Beef accounted for 20,400 tons or 56.3% of the overall production, indicating a year-on-year increase of 45%.
Moreover, 12,400 tons of lamb (up 46% YOY), 2,700 tons of goat meat (up 35% YOY) and 709 tons of meat from other types of livestock were produced during the period, accounting for 34.2%, 7.5% and 2% of the total output respectively, SCI reported on its website.
“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,” the deputy agriculture minister for livestock affairs said.
Morteza Rezaei added that Iran’s red meat production stood at 859,000 tons in the last (fiscal) year (ended March 19, 2020) and its output is expected to hit 880,000 tons by the yearend, IRNA reported.
According to the official, heavy livestock constituted around 60% of the country’s red meat production last year.
“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 the production capacity and productivity.
To this end, 158 projects for developing livestock and poultry breeding sectors will be implemented by March 2021, which will also help create around 16,000 jobs.
Efforts are also expected to expand capacities and control the waste of feed in livestock breeding farms.
Excessive production of livestock over the past few months, combined with a significant decline in red meat consumption due to the coronavirus pandemic, have led to a massive surplus in the cattle farming sector, the head of Iran’s Livestock Exporters National Assembly said recently.
“Latest statistics show the domestic market normally demands around 60 million head of light livestock per year, but currently, it is in excess of 12 million,” Mansour Pourian was also quoted as saying by IRNA on Sunday.
“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 decline in consumption, have created the current problem.
Calling on the government to lift the ban on exports, Pourian said “unconditional exports” will be the key at this critical juncture to prevent any further losses.
In case the trend is not dealt with properly, Pourian said, thousands of farmers will go bankrupt and the country will face severe challenges in the red meat market next year.
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 the pandemic 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 Brazil and Australia.
Pourian said consumption of red meat has registered a 60% decline following the outbreak of the new coronavirus and shutdown of restaurants and ceremony halls, among others.