EghtesadOnline: The latest data released by the Agriculture Ministry show Iran exported 7.66 million tons of agricultural and food products worth $4.71 billion during the 11 months to Feb. 19.
The figures indicate a 3.15% decline in tonnage and a 15.54% fall in value year-on-year.
Pistachio topped the list of exports in terms of value with $851.69 million.
Tomato was the second major agricultural export product in terms of value with $349.85 million, followed by dates with $255.2 million, apple with $243.3 million and watermelon with $193.37 million.
In terms of tonnage, apple topped the list with 858,110 tons, watermelon with 829,220 tons, followed by tomato with 749,760 tons, potato with 588,850 tons and onion, shallot and garlic with 364,890 tons.
Agronomic products accounted for 4.79 million tons worth $1.7 billion of total exports, down 2.51% in terms of tonnage and down 10.42% in terms of value YOY.
Horticultural exports amounted to 2.22 million tons worth $2.29 billion, down 1.65% in terms of tonnage and down 19.28% in value YOY respectively.
Exports of livestock and poultry products reached 521,780 tons worth $494.03 million, down 15.91% in tonnage and 20.79% in value YOY.
The veterinary sector exported 950 tons of products worth $8.84 million, up 18.77% and 26.91% in weight and value YOY respectively.
The fisheries sector exported 108,250 tons worth $196.64 million, posting a rise of 9.37% and 3.65% in total volume and value respectively YOY.
Exports from the forest and rangeland sector hit 19,050 tons worth $27.16 million, up 3.68% in tonnage but down 10.77% in value YOY.
Iran exported 8.83 million tons of agricultural and food products worth $6.21 billion in the fiscal 2020-21.
Meanwhile, agrifood imports stood at 27.99 million tons worth $15.9 billion during the 11 months to Feb. 19, indicating a 28.68% and 63.56% YOY growth in volume and value respectively.
Corn had the biggest share of imports in terms of value with $2.95 billion, followed by wheat with $2.09 billion, different edible oils with $1.87 billion, GM soybeans with $1.35 billion and soymeal with $1.24 billion.
In terms of tonnage, feed corn topped imports with 8.57 million tons, followed by wheat with 6.05 million tons, barley with 3 million tons, soymeal with 2.27 million tons and GM soybeans with 2.05 million tons.
Agronomic products accounted for 26.44 million tons worth $13.24 billion of total imports, up 27.88% and 69.67% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Horticultural products stood at 1.33 million tons worth $1.66 billion, up 42.65% and 43.9% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Imports of livestock and poultry products hit 181,840 tons worth $562.11 million, up 101.16% in tonnage and up 40.38% in value YOY.
The veterinary sector imported 5,208 tons worth $363.65 million, up 57.06% and 34.37% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Imports by the fisheries sector amounted to 10,420 tons worth $28.74 million, down 41.79% and 31.77% in tonnage and value YOY.
The forest and rangeland sector’s imports totaled 30,800 tons worth $50.86 million, down 20.89% and 5.77% in tonnage and value YOY.
The export and import volumes indicate that Iran recorded an agrifood trade deficit of 20.34 million tons in tonnage and $11.19 billion in value during the period under review.
Impact of Drought
The growth in agrifood imports comes amid rising import of essential goods amid a decline in production, which is partly due to water shortage and drought.
Also known as necessity or basic goods, essential goods are products consumers will buy, regardless of changes in income levels.
A total of 27.61 million tons of essential goods worth $17.53 billion were imported into Iran during the 11 months to Feb. 19, registering a 28% and 60% rise in weight and value respectively compared with the similar period of last year, according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
The import of essential goods accounted for 75% of the tonnage and 38% of the value of total imports during the period under review, Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
In a report, Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture has warned agricultural officials of an imminent drought that would cripple the country’s agricultural activities and hamper economic growth in this sector in the current Iranian year (March 2021-22).
The ICCIMA report says precipitation levels have fallen drastically.
The Majlis Research Center has released a list of Iranian provinces in a critical state of water shortage: Isfahan, Hormozgan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Ardabil, Fars, Markazi and Khorasan Razavi.
“Drought has inflicted 670 trillion rials [$2.4 billion] in losses on Iran’s agriculture sector since the beginning of the current crop year,” Mohammad Mousavi, director general of the Agriculture Ministry’s Crisis Management Department said in June 2021.
Assessments carried out over 11.2 million hectares of farmlands in 30 provinces show 43% of the total losses pertained to the decline in agronomic production, as well as 26% to horticultural products, 13% to fisheries and livestock, and 11% to forage crops, he said in June.
“In addition, 4% of the total damage are to blame on problems created in water transportation infrastructures, pools, pipes, aqueducts and springs, and 3% of losses can be attributed to water supply complications and the animal feed used by nomads,” he said.
“Beside the decline in precipitation rate, increase in heatwaves and evaporation, and the inappropriate distribution of rainfall, have resulted in drought that had adverse consequences for the agriculture sector.”
Reports by Iran Meteorological Organization show that 92% of the country have been affected by drought at different levels: 20% of the country’s area are facing extreme drought, 28% severe drought, 25% moderate drought and 19% of the country are going through stages of becoming abnormally dry, and only 8% of the country are having normal conditions.