Iran to buy up to 2 million tons of wheat

Iran will buy 1.5-2.0 million metric tons of wheat in the current fiscal year to March 2016, Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Qanbari said on Saturday. 

Better harvest is helping Iran reduce wheat imports which surpassed 6 million tons last year, he said.

Imports are expected to decline by two-thirds this year, Qanbari said, adding domestic wheat production is estimated to reach 11 million tons.

Iran expects to buy 7.7 million tons of wheat from local producers — 1 million ton more than the total bought a year before.

Qanbari said the country will need 9 million tons of bread making wheat and another 2 million tons for pasta making in the current fiscal year.

“For the 9 million-ton bread making flour, about 7.7 million tons will be bought from local farmers for distribution among bakers and the remaining 2 million tons will be purchased from abroad,” he said.

Iranian wheat growers also keep some of their crop to be utilized for own consumption and seed.

Qanbari named Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Germany, Australia and Canada as the countries from which Iran will buy wheat.

The government has so far bought 3 million metric tons of wheat from local farmers since the start of the crop year.

Iran is one of the world’s biggest importers of milling wheat. The country experienced a short period of self-sufficiency a couple of years ago, but reclined back to its old trend in the face of a protracted drought.

Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati says the government plans to shrink wheat farms by 900,000 hectares over a period of 10 years and dedicate them to canola harvest which is less water intensive.

By Press TV