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EghtesadOnline: A total of 4,311 hectares of greenhouses were built across the country in the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), according to the director of the Agriculture Ministry’s “Greenhouse Expansion Project”.

“About 94% of our plans materialized last year since we had aimed to set up around 4,600 hectares,” Daryoush Salempour was also quoted as saying by IRNA.

“Topping the list of provinces where greenhouses were built last year are Tehran with 664 hectares, Isfahan with 611 hectares, East Azarbaijan with 347 hectares, Ardabil with 329 hectares, Hormozgan with 306 hectares and Khorasan Razavi with 288 hectares.” 

Salempour noted that cultivation is not yet taking place in all greenhouses built last year.

“Agricultural activity is being carried out on close to 1,650 hectares and the remaining areas will go under cultivation of different types of vegetables by late September,” he said.

“Some 90% of the inaugurated greenhouses were ones producing yields in commercial scales, 3% were small greenhouses and the rest were in the form of shades and light structures.” 

The official noted that Iran’s total greenhouse area exceeds 21,000 hectares. 

Ex-agriculture minister, Kazem Khavazi, said February that the area shows a 162% upsurge compared August 2013 when President Hassan Rouhani first took office.

“These facilities can offer significant help in creating jobs, increasing exports and ensuring food security,” Khavazi told the news portal of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

The Agriculture Ministry plans to transfer all vegetable farms to greenhouses to save 10 billion cubic meters of water per year. 

According to Deputy Agriculture Minister Mohammad Ali Tahmasebi, the construction of every 1 square meter of a greenhouse in Iran costs between $1,000 and $2,000.

A major hydroponic greenhouse complex was inaugurated in Aras Free Trade Zone in September, which is said to be the biggest in the Middle East. 

Describing it as "one of the most important agricultural projects in Iran", Secretary of the High Council of Free Trade Zones Morteza Bank said the 80-hectare greenhouse is equipped with state-of the-art technology. 

Russia is said to be the main destination of crops produced in this complex, ILNA reported.

Meanwhile, the largest and most modern greenhouse facility for strawberry production recently came on stream in Khorasan Razavi Province. 

A total of 300 billion rials ($1.2 million) have been invested in the project by Mostazafan Foundation of Islamic Revolution, according to Amir Adib, the project manager of Mashhad Horticulture and Agriculture Company. 

“The greenhouse has been set up on 2.5 hectares and a total of 350 tons of strawberries are expected to be produced from this facility annually. The project got off the ground in December 2019 and has created jobs for 120 people,” he said.

Mostazafan Foundation (a foundation for the oppressed and disabled established in 1979 as per the decree of the late Imam Khomeini) is the largest charity and the second-largest conglomerate in Iran.