EghtesadOnline: A total of 37,100 tons of red meat were produced in Iran during the month ending Aug. 21 to register a 41% rise compared with the similar month of last year and a 2.5% growth over the previous month.
The Statistical Center of Iran's latest report shows beef accounted for 21,400 tons or 57.7% of the overall production, indicating a year-on-year increase of 41%.
During the month, 12,300 tons of lamb (up 35% YOY), 2,700 tons of goat meat (up 29% YOY) and 669.7 tons of meat from other types of livestock were produced, accounting for 33.2%, 7.3% and 1.8% of the total output respectively, SCI reported on its website.
The deputy agriculture minister for livestock affairs said 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 in last [fiscal] year [ended March 19, 2020]. The output is expected to hit 880,000 tons by the [fiscal] yearend,” Morteza Rezaei was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
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.
To this end, 158 projects for developing livestock and poultry breeding sectors will be implemented by the Iranian yearend, which will also help create 16,000 jobs.
Efforts will go into reducing import dependency, expanding production capacities and controlling the waste of feed in livestock breeding farms.
Excessive production of livestock in the past, combined with a significant decline in red meat consumption due to the coronavirus pandemic, had 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 needs around 60 million head of light livestock per year, but currently, it is in excess of 12 million above the 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 cattle.”
The government banned livestock exports in the last Iranian year to help increase supply in the domestic market. However, excessive imports amid the hike in domestic production as well as the huge fall in consumption created problems.
Calling on the government to lift the ban on exports, Pourian said “unconditional exports” will be the key to prevent any further losses.
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 from Brazil and Australia.
Consumption of red meat halved, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus and the shutdown of restaurants and ceremony halls.
Nevertheless, at present, unregulated red meat exports have led to a shortage and a price hike in the domestic market.