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Iran's sugar, raw vegetable oil imports witness sharp fall

Jul 12, 2018 (TREND News Agency via COMTEX) --

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 12

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

A report by Iran's industry ministry unveils that the country's sugar and raw vegetable oil imports have declined, meanwhile the rice imports surged significantly.

The report which covers data on import and purchase of staple foods by the Government Trading Corporation of Iran (GTC), says that Iran's sugar imports decreased by 56.4 percent to 137,500 tons in the last fiscal year, ended March 20, 2018.

The value of the imported sugar also witnessed a fall by 63 percent to 50.2 million euros, according to the report.

GTC also imported 134,900 tons of raw vegetable oil, worth 92.9 million euros in the 12-month period, 31.2 and 70.9 percent less year-on-year, in terms of volume and value, respectively.

In the meantime rice import hiked by 132 percent to 177,400 tons in the last fiscal year. The Iranian government imported 112.7 million euros of rice, 181.8 percent more compared to the preceding year.

No wheat import is registered by the state-body, affiliated with the agriculture ministry, as Iran reached self-sufficiency and turned into wheat exporters in last year.

The report also says that the GTC has purchased 8.87 million tons of wheat from domestic farmers in the last fiscal year with an overall payment of 115.92 trillion rials (each USD makes 43,000 rials based on official rate).

The value and volume of the purchased wheat witnessed a fall by 21.2 and 23 percent, respectively on yearly basis.

Every year, the government buys certain strategic crops, including wheat, from local farmers at guaranteed prices, to build up its strategic reserves and control prices in the domestic market.

GTC has purchased 286,400 tons of oilseeds, worth 7.3 trillion rials from domestic farmers in the period. The value of the purchase registered a sharp increase by 54 percent, meanwhile the volume was 34.2 percent more year-on-year.

Iranian officials say that domestic production of oilseeds is vital for the country in terms of saving foreign currency.

The agriculture ministry is planning to meet at least 70 percent of the domestic demand from local production by 2025.

Iran has taken various measures in recent years to boost the country's oilseed output to reduce the country's reliance on imports of raw vegetable oils.

The country's dependency on oilseed imports was 94 percent in 2015, when the administration started a plan to boost the cultivation of the product.

The administration has allocated about 30 million rials (each USD makes 42,000 rials) of credit per hectare for the cultivation of colza and other oilseeds.

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