By Mahnaz Abdi

Dairy export a privilege for Iran to boost regional trade

September 6, 2020 - 17:17

Iran, which used to be a big importer of dairy products, has now become an exporter of these products, especially to the regional markets.

The country is currently the second exporter of milk and dairy products in the region, after Turkey.

As announced by the secretary of Iran Dairy Industries Union, close to seven million tons of milk is produced in the country annually, 450,000 tons of which valued at $770 million is exported as the dairy products.

Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia are Iran’s major dairy importers, while Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Japan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia are some other export destinations.

According to the latest report released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), Iran exported 152,574 tons of dairy products valued at $153.74 million during the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20-July 21).

The IRICA report said that Iranian dairy products have been exported to 30 countries including Canada, Germany, Britain, Russia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and New Zealand during the mentioned time span.

Through importing $75.99 million of the mentioned goods, Iraq was the major export destination of Iranian dairy products in the first four months of the present year, while Afghanistan and Pakistan came as the second and third export markets, through importing $18.82 million, and $13.41 million of the products, respectively.

Considering the West Asian and North African markets, Iran’s food sector has played some significant role in the country’s non-oil exports, as the exports of foodstuff accounted for 14 percent, and 15 percent of non-oil exports in the Iranian calendar year 1397 (March 2018-March 2019), and 1398 (March 2019-March 2020), respectively.

While the share of foodstuffs in non-oil exports is considerable, there are also potential and capacities for boosting it, and the dairy sector can play an important role in this due.

Iran’s dairy export especially to the neighboring states is in fact a privilege for the county’s trade in the region.

Exporting these products to 30 countries during the first four months of the current year, despite all limitations because of the U.S. sanctions and also coronavirus pandemic and closure of the borders, is good news.

As previously reported by the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI), the production of cow milk in Iran has risen three percent during the first quarter of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20-June 20) from its previous quarter.

SCI has put the quarterly cow milk output at 1.9 million tons.

The country also plans to boost its annual milk output to 11 million tons in the current Iranian calendar year (ends on March 20, 2021).

Although in the way to increase its dairy exports, Iran should adopt some key strategies, among them it could be referred to more diversification in the products, preparing better export infrastructure given that these products are highly spoilable, combining the traditional production methods with the modern ones, and finding more export destinations.

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