EghtesadOnline: There were 46.6 million sheep and lambs and 16.7 million goats and goat kids at Iran’s livestock farms in the month ending Dec 20, 2020, indicating an increase of 8.3% in the number of sheep and lambs, and an increase of 9% in the number of goats and goat kids compared with the same period of last year.
According to the Statistical Center of Iran’s report, a total of 5.4 million lambs and 1.7 million goat kids were born during the third quarter of the current year (Sept. 22-Dec. 20, 2020), registering a 3.3-fold and 2.7-fold increase compared with the previous quarter, thanks to the seasonal increase in the number of light livestock.
Fattening practices were conducted on 3.9 million sheep and lambs and 1.1 million goats and goat kids during Q3, which indicate a 29.9% and 32.4% growth quarter-on-quarter.
According to Shahpour Alaei-Moqaddam, the head of Nomadic Affairs Organization, nomads in Iran produce 28% of lightweight livestock and 4% of heavy livestock annually.
“Meat production by nomads has increased by 35,000 tons now to reach 200,000 tons annually. They supply 9.7 million heads of livestock to the market per year,” he was quoted as saying by Ashayer.ir.
A total of 36,200 tons of red meat were produced in Iran during the month ending Dec. 20 to register a 27% rise compared with the similar month of last year. The output witnessed a 3.5% month-on-month decline.
The SCI report shows beef accounted for 20,400 tons or 56.3% of the overall production, indicating a year-on-year increase of 35%.
Moreover, 12,400 tons of lamb (up 18% YOY), 2,700 tons of goat meat (up 23% YOY) and 709 tons of meat from other types of livestock were produced during the one-month period, accounting for 34.2%, 7.5% and 2% of the total output respectively.
Domestic red meat consumption has declined by 40% after the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. This has inflicted losses on the country’s nomads and their economy, which is largely dependent on animal husbandry, the caretaker of Nomadic Affairs Organization affiliated with the Agriculture Ministry said recently.
“Limitations placed on social events and gatherings due to the pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies and most restaurants have either closed down or have very few customers and delivery requests, which has in turn reduced red meat consumption,” Alaei-Moqaddam was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official noted that under the circumstances, nomadic tribes are facing an oversupply of livestock that threatens their livelihood.
In June, Karamali Qandali, the former head of Nomadic Affairs Organization, said that red meat production by nomads in Iran is estimated to increase by 15-20% in the current Iranian year (March 2020-21), compared with last year amid high precipitation that led to the bountiful growth of grass in meadows.
“At present, nomads own more than 9.5 million head of livestock and produce 190,000 tons of red meat per year, which meet 25% of domestic demand,” he said.
There are 213,000 nomadic households in Iran, which account for 1.2 million of Iran’s total population.
Nomadic production of red meat accounts for about a quarter of Iran’s total output.
“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,” deputy agriculture minister for livestock affairs had said.
“Iran’s red meat production stood at 859,000 tons in the 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.
“Up to 160,000 tons of red meat are imported annually,” he said.