EghtesadOnline: Iran exported 6.12 million tons of agricultural and food products worth over $6 billion during the first three quarters of the current fiscal year (March 20-Dec. 20).
The figures indicate a respective rise of 22.65% and 48.27% in tonnage and value compared with last year’s corresponding period, the Agriculture Ministry’s website reported.
Fresh and dried pistachio topped the list of exports in terms of value, as the country exported $1.05 billion worth of the crop from Q1 to Q3.
Tomato was the second major agricultural export product in terms of value with $630.6 million, followed by apple with $272.98 million, onion and shallot with $265.15 million and grapes with $217.84 million.
In terms of tonnage, tomato topped the list with 758,790 tons, followed by watermelon with 639,980 tons, potato with 554,530 tons, apples with 379,120 tons and onion and shallot with 373,250 tons.
Agronomical products accounted for 3.912 million tons worth $2.32 billion of total exports, up 16.54% in terms of tonnage and 45.03% in terms of value year-on-year.
Horticultural exports stood at 1.58 million tons worth $2.74 billion, up 46.21% and 58.417% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Exports of livestock and poultry products stood at 524.83 tons worth $770.43 million, up 18.57% in tonnage and 37.39% in value YOY.
The veterinary sector exported 588 tons of products worth $5.54 million, up 163.68% and 314.03% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
The fisheries sector exported 81,400 tons worth $207.93 million, posting a decline of 8.26% in tonnage and an increase of 18.14% in value respectively YOY.
Exports from the forest and rangeland sector hit 6,121 tons worth $22.20 million, down 16.41% and 4.8% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Imports at 17.7m Tons Worth $7.78b
Imports during the three quarters stood at 17.7 million tons worth $7.78 billion, indicating a year-on-year 2.05% rise in volume and a 15.79% fall in value.
Corn had the biggest share in total imports in terms of value with $1.789 billion, followed by wheat with $773.56 million, semi- and whole-milled rice with $708.97 million, oils with $673.94 million and press cake with $462.92 million.
In terms of tonnage, feed corn topped imports with 7.253 million tons, followed by wheat with 2.774 million tons, barley with 1.34 million tons, press cake with 1.11 million tons and sugar with 984,750 tons.
Agronomical products accounted for 16.838 million tons worth $6.3 billion of total imports, up 4.68% in tonnage and down 8.05% in value YOY.
Horticultural products stood at 738,940 tons worth $868.91 million, down 23% and 20% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Imports of livestock and poultry products hit 78,290 tons worth $345.49 million, down 69.28% and 70.01% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
The veterinary sector imported 1,987 tons worth $193.387 million, up 85.87% in tonnage and 206.52% in value respectively YOY.
Imports by the fisheries sector amounted to 16,780 tons worth $37.12 million, down 16.93% in tonnage and 31.69% in value respectively YOY.
Imports from the forest and rangeland sector totaled 33.4 tons worth $41.86 million, up 87.93% in tonnage and 7.41% in value YOY.
The export and import volumes indicate that Iran recorded an agrifood trade deficit of 11.58 million tons in tonnage and $1.7 billion in value during the first three quarters of the current year.
Only Agriculture Sector Experienced Growth
Data released by the Agriculture Ministry show Iran exported 7.1 million tons of agricultural and food products worth over $5.82 billion in the last fiscal year that ended on March 19, 2020, to register a 2.34% rise in tonnage and 8.93% decline in value compared to the year before.
Agriculture was the only sector that experienced growth in the last Iranian year (March 2019-20).
According to the Statistical Center of Iran, the sector expanded by 3% during the fiscal 2019-20, while the overall Iranian economy experienced a 7% contraction.
SCI noted that GDP shrank by -0.6%, excluding oil production.
The sectors of "industries and mines", and "services" saw a respective contraction of 14.7% and 0.3%.
The significant boost in agricultural production is largely because of abundant rainfall at the beginning of the year, which led to a higher yield.
“Agricultural yields are expected to improve by 3 million tons, thanks to the current good rainfall year,” says Esmaeil Esfandiyarpour, an official with Agriculture Ministry.
Out of nearly 18 million hectares of Iran's farmlands, 12 million hectares are rain-fed. The impact of rainfalls is more significant in the arid areas of central, southern, eastern and southeastern regions struggling for long with water shortages, drought and extended dry seasons since most of their farms are rain-fed.
According to Agriculture Minister Kazem Khavazi, over 4.3 million farmers in Iran produce more than 124 million tons of agricultural products per year on more than 18.5 million hectares.
Agronomical products, he added, account for over 83.5 million tons of the total volume.
According to the minister, Iran possesses 14.3 million hectares of forests, 84 million hectares of pastures, 2.7 million hectares of woodland and 32.6 million hectares of deserts.
Rouhani Gov't Track Record
Expounding on the government's track record since President Hassan Rouhani first took office in August 2013, Agriculture Minister Kazem Khavazi said agricultural production has increased from 97 million tons in 2013 to 125 million tons in the fiscal 2019-20 to register a 28.86% rise, according to the minister.
“It is estimated that the figure will reach 130 million tons by the end of the current Iranian year [March 20],” Khavazi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“When the Rouhani Administration took office in August 2013, each cubic meter of water yielded around 920 grams of agricultural products. The figure presently stands at 1,450 grams, which shows a significant improvement in water efficiency. Farms equipped with modern irrigation systems increased from 1.2 million hectares to 2.4 million hectares, and irrigation efficiency has increased from 35% to 45% over the course of the seven years.”
According to the minister, agronomical harvest stood at 83 million tons and horticultural production at 24 million tons last year, which show a 22.06% and 50% increase respectively compared with 2013.
Livestock production increased to 16 million tons last year, showing a 384.84% surge over the period.
Milk production, the minister added, registered a 34.14% growth over the period under review to reach 11 million tons last year. The government plans to maintain the figure in the current year and the year to come.
“Seafood production experienced a 44.44% rise to stand at 1.3 million tons last year, from 900,000 tons in 2013. The figure is estimated to rise to 1.5 million tons by the end of the current year in March 2021. Shrimp production has increased from 12,000 tons to 46,000 tons and caviar production from 1 ton to 10 tons,” he added.
The agriculture minister noted that last year 13.7 million tons of wheat were produced in Iran while the figure stood at 9.3 million tons seven years ago.
Honey production grew from 75,000 tons in 2013 to 112,000 tons last year to indicate a 49.33% rise.
In the field of agro mechanization, said Khavazi, the government has provided 112,000 tractors and more than 10,000 combine harvesters.
At present, 18,500 hectares of greenhouse areas are spread across the country while only 8,800 hectares of such facilities existed when Rouhani first took office.