EghtesadOnline: Potato production in Iran has experienced a 30% decline in the current fiscal year that started on March 21, 2021.
The decline in yield will cause problems in supplying the crop to the market and needs government measures as soon as possible, says the head of Vegetable Wholesalers Union.
“Right now, around 60% of our potato storage centers are empty. The reason behind the fall in production this year is that farmers refrained from planting the crop because prices were very low last year and many of them incurred heavy losses,” Mostafa Darayinejad was also quoted as saying by Mizan Online.
The official said the Agriculture Ministry has announced that it would import some 100,000 tons of potatoes to supply the domestic demand.
According to an Agriculture Ministry official, Hossein Asghari, potatoes were cultivated on over 141,000 hectares of farmland across the country in the current crop year.
In the last crop year, 5.54 million tons of the crop were produced across 149,000 hectares.
The official says Iranians consume close to 500,000 tons of potatoes per month.
Hamedan, Ardabil, Kurdestan, East Azarbaijan and Isfahan are the main potato producers in Iran.
Iran is likely to have been in the top-five global exporters of marketable potatoes in 2021. The volume of potato exports from Iran in 2021 increased by 16% and reached a record 855,000 tons, EastFruit reported.
There are six countries of the post-Soviet era among the largest markets for Iranian potatoes: Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Five more countries of the region, namely Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova take 14th–19th positions.
It was the sharp increase in the supply of potatoes to the post-Soviet states that provided Iran with a record volume of potato exports in 2021. As a rule, other major importers reduced their purchase of potatoes in Iran: Afghanistan reduced imports by 17% and Iraq more than twice.
Exports of Iranian potatoes to Uzbekistan increased by almost 37 times over the year, to Russia by 20 times, to Ukraine by almost 100 times. Azerbaijan was, as usual, the largest market for Iranian potatoes among all post-Soviet states (167,000 tons), but traders believe that this was an import of potatoes by Azerbaijan for the subsequent reexports to Russia. Even so, deliveries to Azerbaijan grew by 73% over the year. Uzbekistan bought 146,000 tons of potatoes from Iran in a year.
Iranian potato exports to Turkmenistan more than doubled in a year to an impressive 77,000 tons.
Tax incentives for import and sale of potatoes were extended in Uzbekistan and neighboring Kazakhstan even introduced a ban on the export of potatoes, fearing their shortage. Iranian potatoes are just what is needed there.
In addition to Iran, Pakistan is also increasing supplies to Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries. By the way, winter potatoes in Pakistan ripened earlier than usual this season.
At the same time, as activity on trading platform shows, early potatoes of the new harvest have been supplied by Egypt.