TEHRAN: Close to 106,300 tons of wheat worth $26.66 million were exported to 10 countries in the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 21-July 22), Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture announced. This indicates a more than 22-fold and 13-fold growth in terms of weight and value respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year. Armenia, Afghanistan, Germany, the United States, Turkey, South Korea, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait and the Netherlands were the main export destinations for Iranian wheat.
With a shipment of 29,630 tons from Imam Khomeini Port in the city of Mahshahr in the southern Khuzestan Province to Oman, Iran exported its first wheat consignment in June. “The shipment was part of the 2 million tons of surplus wheat produced last year. Back then, the government aimed to export this surplus and the first shipment headed to the neighboring Oman at around 11 a.m. on June 12. Proper marketing was done in Oman and plans are underway to do the same in Turkey as well as European countries,” Mohammad Reza Zarei, the head of Food Bulk Carriage Affairs Office at the Bulk and General Cargo Carriage Company affiliated to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, told Financial Tribune after the first shipment. During the same period, 46,800 tons of wheat worth more than $13.8 million were imported, indicating a twofold decline both in terms of volume and value respectively compared with the similar period of last year, ICCIMA’s news portal reported. Imports are being made while Iran has achieved self-sufficiency in the production of the grain since last year.
The Agriculture Ministry and the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration explained that these imports pertain to previous orders placed during 2013-15, that is before wheat imports were banned. The ministry banned wheat imports as of March 20, 2016, citing Iran’s sufficient reserves. A record high of 14 million tons of wheat were produced last year, which helped Iran achieve wheat self-sufficiency for the first time in about a decade. A ceremony attended by President Hassan Rouhani was held in December 2016 to celebrate this bumper wheat harvest and self-sufficiency. Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Qanbari said it is estimated that this year too, about 11 million tons of the grain will be purchased and the self-sufficiency attained last year will endure in the current year.