EghtesadOnline: Iran’s processing, storage and packaging capacity for agricultural products has increased from 32 million tons in 2013, when President Hassan Rouhani first took office, to 72 million tons by the end of last Iranian year (March 20, 2021), according to the director general of Agriculture Ministry’s Foodstuff Processing Industries Bureau.
“Up until August 2013, we had a total of 6,452 agro processing, storage and packaging units that had created jobs for 61,506 people across the country,” Changiz Esfandiari was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that ever since, more than 6,000 of such units with a capacity of 40 million tons have been launched, generating over 100,000 jobs.
“At present, processing plants with a capacity of 7.4 million tons and cold storage facilities with a capacity of 1 million tons of agro products are under construction, all of which have made over 60% progress,” he added.
Esfandiari said that from August 2013 up until this March, the country’s silo capacity has increased by 3 million tons.
Based on the Agriculture Ministry’s figures, Iran’s agricultural production stood at 125 million tons in the fiscal 2019-20.
Notably, a total of 6.4 million tons of agricultural products were produced in Tehran Province in the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), showing a 5.6% rise compared with the year before, according to the head of the province’s Agricultural Organization.
“Wheat, barley, corn, colza and different kinds of vegetables accounted for the lion’s share [3 million tons] of the overall production,” Ayyoub Fesahat was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that last year’s yields included around 1.7 million tons of horticultural and greenhouse products and 1.51 million tons of dairy products, seafood and honey.
According to the official, the Iranian capital ranks first among Iran’s 31 provinces by producing 782,200 tons of greenhouse vegetables, 42,300 tons of edible mushrooms, 78,000 tons of cherries, 168,500 tons of eggs, 1,522 tons of field corn and 1.3 million cut flowers per year.
The province ranks second in milk production with 1,198 tons and ornamental fish with 37,800, and third in the cultivation of apples with 332,500 tons.
Tehran has 187,000 hectares of farmlands (13.5% of its total area) through which 52,677 people earn their living.
A total of 40 trillion rials ($168 million) were invested in agricultural mechanization in the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), says Kambiz Abbasi, an Agriculture Ministry official.
“The government plans to increase the figure to more than 50 trillion rials [$210 million] in the current [fiscal] year [March 2021-22],” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that 160 trillion rials ($672 million) have been invested in the mechanization of different fields of agriculture since 2013.
According to Abbasi, agricultural mechanization coefficient in Iran presently stands at 1.8 horsepower per hectare.
“The figure stood at 1.2 hp/ha when President Hassan Rouhani first took office in August 2013 and is expected to increase to 2.1 hp/ha by the end of Rouhani’s second term [August 2021] and to 3 hp/ha by the fiscal 2031-32,” he said.
About 95% of Iran’s agricultural machinery, he added, are produced locally and the rest is imported due to a lack of production lines for these machinery and spare parts.
Iran exported 8.83 million tons of agricultural and food products worth $6.21 billion in the last fiscal year (ended March 2021).
The figures indicate a 23.57% and 5.99% rise in tonnage and value respectively compared with the output of the year before, the Agriculture Ministry’s website reported.
Fresh and dried pistachio topped the list of exports in terms of value, as the country exported $1.37 billion worth of it during the period.
Tomato was the second major agricultural export product in terms of value with $358.45 million, followed by apple with $326.67 million, dates with $296.7 million and dried grapes with $234.3 million.
In terms of tonnage, potato topped the list with 950,400 tons, followed by apple with 884,800 tons, tomato with 767,870 tons, watermelon with 703.38 tons and onion with 429.4 tons.
Imports during the same period stood at 23.69 million tons worth $10.9 billion, indicating a year-on-year decline of 5.53% in volume and 14.45% in value respectively.
Feed corn had the biggest share in total imports in terms of value with $2.506 billion, followed by soybean with $1.04 billion, semi- and whole-milled rice with $932.5 million and various types of vegetable oil with $848.74 million.
In terms of tonnage, feed corn topped imports with 9.86 million tons, followed by wheat with 2.28 million tons, barley with 1.86 million tons and soymeal with 1.81 million tons.
The export and import volumes show that Iran recorded an agrifood trade deficit of 14.86 million tons in tonnage and $4.69 billion in value during the last Iranian year.