EghtesadOnline: Phase I of Iran’s largest logistics center and export terminal for agricultural products was inaugurated in the northern province of Mazandaran via videoconference by President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday.
“Romak Food Logistics Company’s construction started in the Iranian year ending March 2018 over 31 hectares in Jouybar, Mazandaran,” the head of the company, Khalil Qolizadeh, said.
“The marketing, export, creation and promotion of an Iranian brand in international markets, the removal of flaws in distribution system and the regulation of agricultural products market were the primary goals of launching the export terminal in northern Iran,” he added.
The terminal’s capacities include sorting, packaging and cardboard manufacturing, as well as freezing of meat products.
“The terminal is home to 57 ammonia cold storage halls with a capacity of freezing 80 tons of agricultural products per day. As much as 274,000 tons of products can be packaged and 90,000 tons of vegetables, cucurbits and meat products can be stored in desired temperatures here. A total of 7,200 billion rials [$27 million] were invested in the project that created 300 jobs,” Qolizadeh was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Romak Food Logistics Company is the fourth terminal of agricultural products in Mazandaran, after establishing terminals for rice, flowers and plants, fisheries and sturgeons, during the 10 months ending Jan. 19.
Mazandaran’s agriculture sector received 30 trillion rials ($115 million) in bank loans during the period, according to Mohammad-Taqi Qezelsofla, 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 to be used in the fields of agro mechanization, greenhouse cultivation and trade expansion,” Qezelsofla was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that all agriculture-related sectors active in the province, namely agronomical and horticultural activities, livestock and poultry production, fisheries and foodstuff industries, have received banking 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 this year.
“Most of the jobs sought 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 nearly 7 million tons. The province accounts for only 2.5% of Iran’s arable land, yet annually produces 7% and 11% of the country’s agricultural products in weight and value respectively.
According to Hosseinali 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 a total of $140 million worth of horticultural products were exported from Mazandaran during the first nine months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Dec. 20, 2020).
According to Ebrahim Qorban-Nejad, another local official, over 169,000 tons of citrus fruit worth $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 over year.
Cut-flower, ornamental plants and shrub exports stood at around 9,500 tons worth nearly $31 million, he added.
Russia, Iraq, India, Oman, Qatar, Afghanistan and the littoral countries of Caspian Sea were the main destinations.
Qorban-Nejad attributes the increase in Mazandaran’s horticultural exports to healthier products with a higher quality, proper sorting and packaging, use of scientific methods for cultivation and harvest, the rise 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 close to $6 million were exported from Mazandaran.