EghtesadOnline: Average per capita dairy consumption in Iran has reached 82 kg at its peak, which is still below the global average, Esmaeil Khatami-Moqaddam, an inspector of Iran Dairy Industries Society, says.
“According to the Statistical Center of Iran’s data, total raw milk production of industrial and traditional dairy farms stood at 8.6 million tons in the year ending March 2020,” Khatami-Moqaddam was quoted as saying by ILNA.
“Given Iran’s population of 83 million, per capita milk production, measured in kilograms per person per year, stands at 103 kg. However, in many reports, the per capita production is wrongfully perceived as per capita consumption.”
The official noted that per capita consumption is the sum of production and imports minus exports and consumption by animals divided by population, and this formula shows a significant gap between per capita production and per capita consumption in Iran.
“Of the total 8.6 million tons of raw milk produced in Iran annually, industrial dairy farms account for 6 million tons or 70% and the traditional dairy farms constitute 2.6 million tons or 30%. Imports of dairy products, except for butter, were close to zero over recent years. As a result, the impact of imports on per capita consumption has been zero,” Khatami-Moqaddam said.
Statistics released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show the country exports 700,000-900,000 tons of raw milk per year, which is equal to 9-10% of total raw milk production in Iran.
Noting that unofficial exports of raw milk stand at 1 million tons (in the form of 80,000-100,000 tons of milk powder), Khatami-Moqaddam said, “This is 10% of overall output of raw milk in Iran. A portion of milk powder produced in local factories is being stored, as per the country’s strategic reserves, i.e., 500,000 tons or 5% of the total output. Self-consumption by dairy farms accounts for a small fraction of total raw milk output, i.e., 5%. In other words, 5% of milk produced in dairy farms are directly used in their plants for purposes such as feeding the calves. All in all, 30% of raw milk produced in Iran must be eliminated from per capita consumption.”
The official noted that dairy consumption by each Iranian hovers around 72 kg at its lowest and 82 kg at its highest, which is well below the global average of 120 kg.
According to Iran's 20-year Vision Plan [2005-25], per capita consumption of dairy products should hover around 120 kg, which figure appears unrealistic under the current circumstances.
Khatami-Moqaddam believes that the average dairy consumption is declining due to economic and cultural reasons.
In fact, “the decline in people’s purchasing power due to economic hardship is one of the main reasons behind people’s cutting dairy out of their diet”, he added.