Iran expects its state-sponsored purchases of wheat from domestic farmers to surpass 10 million tonnes this year, Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati says.
Harvests in the 2016/2017 crop season are on track to make the country self-sufficient in wheat for the second year running, the government’s official news website said.
“We are predicting that wheat purchases this year will exceed 10 million tonnes, which will certainly render the balance between the country’s wheat production and consumption positive and increase wheat stocks,” Hojjati said.
Purchases of wheat at guaranteed prices so far have hit 8.6 million tonnes, which are 500,000 tonnes more than the volume bought a year before, he added.
Last year, the government bought 9 million tonnes of the strategic commodity from domestic wheat growers which did away with the need for imports.
In February, Ministry of Agriculture banned state imports of wheat for the current Iranian year, ordering officials to stop registering new purchase orders.
Iranian importers usually get foreign exchange at concessionary rates from the government for imports of basic commodities such as wheat, rice, raw sugar, crude vegetable oil and medicine.
To protect farmers against cheap imports and to prevent imported grain being re-sold to the government at higher prices, the government has imposed import duties on wheat and barley.
By Press TV