EghtesadOnline: Since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2016), the government has purchased more than 7.8 million tons of wheat at a total price of 100,000 billion rials ($2.85 billion at market exchange rate) from local farmers, which indicates a 19.2% increase compared with last year.
This was announced by managing director of Government Trading Corporation of Iran, Ali Qanbari.
The government buys wheat from local farmers at guaranteed prices to build up its strategic reserves and control prices in the domestic market.
Khuzestan in the south, Golestan in the north and Fars in southwest of the country are top provinces in terms of wheat cultivation, according to Financial Tribune.
More than 203,000 tons of the purchases were made in Kerman Province, located in southeast Iran, according to director general of Grain and Commercial Services Company of the province.
“This amount of purchase is unprecedented in the last 50 years. Thanks to the improvements made in farming methods in Kerman, yields are high this year,” said Majid Nejadbeigi.
It is estimated that this year wheat production from 6 million hectares of irrigated and rainfed lands will rise from last year’s 11.5 million tons to more than 13 million tons, 10 million of which will be purchased by the government.
Iran was the 11th biggest producer of wheat worldwide in 2015 for the third consecutive year, according to a recent report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
In its latest report on Iran’s agricultural sector, the Business Monitor International estimates that Iran’s wheat production will reach 16 million by 2019/20 and that wheat yields are expected to improve, because of the use of modern technology, greater access to relevant inputs and a larger area of the country benefiting from new irrigation facilities.
Currently, 85% of domestic demand for wheat are met by local production. The government plans to achieve complete self-sufficiency in three years.