Iran self-sufficient in rice production

October 9, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran has become completely self-sufficient in rice production as it plans to cut up to two million tons of imports a year, Press TV reported, quoting a senior Iranian agriculture ministry official as saying.

According to Deputy Agriculture Minister Abdolmehdi Bakhshandeh, the country’s total production of rice is going to top 2.9 to 3 million tons (nearly 3.3 million American tons) this year, with harvest season expected to conclude at the end of November in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

The Statistical Center of Iran estimates that Iranians consume approximately 35 kilograms of rice per person each year. That would mean a domestic demand of nearly three million tons for a country of 83 million people.

It is the first time that Iran, a country known for its high-quality rice, announces self-sufficiency in the crop. The country imported 960,000 tons of rice, mainly from India, in the six-month period starting late March 2019.

Bakhshandeh said part of that inventory of rice would be stored for strategic purposes.

He said the land dedicated to rice cultivation across Iran increased by almost a third this year to reach 830,000 hectares, helping to grow more than 4.4 million tons of rice hull.

The official said farmers had finished harvesting rice in the north, where the bulk of Iran’s rice is grown. However, he insisted that the increase in yearly production was mainly due to more cultivation of the crop in Khuzestan, where the total cultivation area this year reached a record of 205,000 hectares.

Bakhshandeh said rice self-sufficiency would save Iran more than $1.1 billion in imports, adding that it would also be a major success amid efforts to minimize the impacts of the American sanctions on food security in the country.

EF/MA

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