EghtesadOnline: A total of 40,000 tons of red meat were produced in Iran during the month ending Sept. 21 (sixth month of the current Iranian year) to register a 57% rise compared with the similar month of last year.
The output witnessed a 7.8% month-on-month growth.
The Statistical Center of Iran's latest report shows beef accounted for 23,600 tons or 59% of the overall production, indicating a year-on-year increase of 61%.
A total of 12,900 tons of lamb (up 59% YOY), 2,800 tons of goat meat (up 40% YOY) and 734 tons of meat from other types of livestock were produced during the one-month period, accounting for 32.2%, 7% and 1.8% 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, says the deputy agriculture minister for livestock affairs.
“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 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 is annually imported,” he said, underlining that measures are underway to cut the dependency on imports and boost productivity.
To this end, 158 projects for developing livestock and poultry breeding sectors will be implemented by the Iranian yearend, which will also help create around 16,000 jobs.
These efforts will go into expanding the capacities and controlling feed waste in livestock breeding farms.
Excessive production of livestock over the past 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, 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 average,” 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, he added.
The government banned the export of livestock 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 the current problem.
Calling on the government to lift the ban on exports, Pourian said “unconditional exports” will be key in this critical situation 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 upheavals 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 seen a 60% decline following the outbreak of the new coronavirus and shutdown of restaurants and ceremony halls, among others.
There were 43 million sheep and lambs as well as 15.3 million goats and goat kids in Iran's livestock farms during the second quarter of the current year (June 21-Sept. 21), registering a 0.3% increase in the former but a decline of 7% in the latter compared with the same period of last year, the Statistical Center of Iran reported.
A total of 1.4 million lambs and 453,000 goat kids were born during the second quarter, registering a 71.2% and 82% decline compared with the previous quarter.
Domestic livestock farms raised 3.9 million sheep and lambs, and 1.2 million goats and goat kids during the period, which indicates a 35.9% and 23.6% growth quarter-on-quarter.
Milk production by sheep and goats is estimated to stand at 46,400 and 40,000 tons, respectively.
Thanks to the seasonal increase in the number of cattle in spring and summer, the supply of lightweight livestock has increased by 50%, that of lamb by 35%, live calves by 40% and the supply of veal has grown by 25%, Pourian.