EghtesadOnline: Mazandaran Province’s agriculture sector received a total of 30 trillion rials ($125 million) in bank loans during the first 10 months of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2020-Jan. 19), according to an executive with the Agriculture Bank of Iran, also known as Agribank.
“These facilities were granted to 59,342 farmers and orchard and business owners in the province for agro mechanization, greenhouse cultivation and trade expansion,” Mohammad Taqi Qezelsofla was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official added that all agriculture-related sectors active in the province, namely agronomical and horticultural activities, livestock and poultry production, fisheries and food industries, have received bank facilities during the period under review.
Hossein Negahdar, the deputy head of Mazandaran Agricultural Organization, said a total of 1,669 jobs have been created in the sector so far this year, especially for graduates of agriculture majors.
“At present, the northern province accounts for around 23% of the country’s total employment in the agriculture sector,” he added.
Mazandaran Province, located in northern Iran along the Caspian Sea, cultivates 72 kinds of agricultural products, the annual yields of which amount to 7 million tons. The province accounts for only 2.5% of Iran’s arable land, but annually produces 7% and 11% of the country’s agricultural products in weight and value respectively.
According to Hossein Ali Qovanlou, a local official, food industries account for 42% of the province’s production units, which have thrived despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
With 150,000 hectares of orchards, Mazandaran is the top producer of horticultural products in Iran.
Last year (March 2019-20), a total of 200,000 tons of agricultural products were exported from Mazandaran, indicating a 100% hike compared with the previous year.
The province also ranks first to third in the production of rice, chicken, dairy and seafood.
Latest data show $140 million worth of horticultural products were exported from the northern Mazandaran Province during the first nine months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Dec. 20, 2020).
According to Ebrahim Qorban-Nejad, a local official, over 169,000 tons of citrus fruit worth close to $64 million were exported from Mazandaran over the period under review, showing a 139% and 240% growth in weight and value respectively compared with the similar period of last year.
Kiwi exports stood at 104,000 tons worth $47 million, registering a 15% and 154% rise in volume and value respectively year-on-year.
Cut-flower, ornamental plants and shrub exports stood at around 9,500 tons worth $31 million, he added.
Russia, Iraq, India, Oman, Qatar, Afghanistan and the littoral countries of Caspian Sea were the main destinations.
The official attributes the rise in Mazandaran’s horticultural exports to healthier products of higher quality, proper sorting and packaging, use of scientific methods for cultivation and harvest procedures, increase in the province’s storage capacity and the launch of an agricultural products export terminal.
Over the nine months under review, some 10,000 tons of rice worth $6 million were exported from Mazandaran.