Iran exports first consignment of rice since 1979
Staff Writer | October 31, 2018
Iran sold 74 tons of rice to Canada, marking the first export of the crop since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
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The Tarom Hashemi type was shipped in three consignments by the private sector, commercial director of Mazandaran Agriculture Jihad Department Soleiman Hatamnejad told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
The Tarom Hashemi cultivar is especially valued for its aroma and Hatamnejad said it had been selected for export in view of its nutritional value and distinct taste.
While the volume is relatively minuscule in global trade terms, it is a significant watershed in the country’s long-term food security program.
Rice is mostly produced in northern Iran, in Mazandaran and Gilan provinces on the Caspian coast. Annual production stands at around 2.2 million tons and one million tons is imported.
Mazandaran, with 230,000 hectares of paddy fields, produces about one million tons of rice a year, or 42 percent of the country’s total.
According to secretary of Iran Rice Association Jamil Alizadeh Shayeq, irregular imports by some profiteers are becoming a headache for local farmers.
The country is also facing the problem of continued rice cultivation in provinces grappling with drought, such as Isfahan and Shiraz.
Last year, the government banned rice cultivation outside Gilan and Mazandaran but officials say some farmers do not observe the regulation.
The government also imposes seasonal rice import ban to support local prices during the harvest season, but there are regular complaints of import quotas being breached by some traders.
Iran’s food security index stands at around 96 percent but US sanctions and a protracted drought are affecting the country’s inflationary trends and impacting access to food and its affordability. As a result, Iran is facing challenges for long-term food security. ■ What to read next
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