EghtesadOnline: A total of 660,000 tons of imported rice were cleared from customs since the beginning of the current Iranian year on March 21 until Nov. 13, says an Agriculture Ministry official.
Ebrahim Zare’ added that over the past two weeks, order for imports of a further 438,300 tons have been placed.
“Between 2 million and 2.2 million tons of rice are estimated to have been produced on paddy fields across the country this year. As domestic demand currently stands at 3-3.2 million tons per year, it seems that around 1 million tons of imports will suffice to meet the local need,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Based on figures released by the Agriculture Ministry, officials predict rice production to witness a 13% decline this year.
The import order was placed after the early lifting of the seasonal rice import ban this year. Every year, during the rice harvest season, the government bans rice imports in support of local farmers and domestic production. The ban usually begins in August and lasts until November. However, this year, due to bad weather conditions and low precipitation, the ban was lifted earlier to ensure adequate supply.
According to Zare’, the lion’s share of Iran’s rice imports this year have been made from India and the rest from Pakistan.
The UAE, Thailand, Turkey and Iraq are other countries Iran traditionally imports rice from every year.
Faramak Aziz-Karimi, the Agriculture Ministry’s director general of Grains and Essential Goods Affairs Department, says a total of 2.6 million tons of rice were produced in the last fiscal year (2020-21) on more than 800,000 hectares of paddy fields across the country, showing a 10.34% decline compared with the output of the year before.
“Over 73% of the country’s rice cultivation took place in the three northern provinces of Gilan (32%), Mazandaran (26%) and Golestan (15%) and 18% in the southern Province of Khuzestan, adding that the staple grain was cultivated in 15 other provinces as well, which together accounted for some 8% of the annual harvest,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
At present, more than 654,000 hectares of paddy fields are scattered across the country, 440,000 hectares of which are located in the three northern provinces.