Iran’s rice market faces stagnation

Iran’s rice production for the previous agricultural season reached 2.4 tons. However, in response to the global trend of increasing reserves of essential commodities, the Ministry of Agriculture in Iran imported a remarkable 1.78 million tons of rice, setting a new record. This significant importation effort, valued at approximately $2.2 billion, aimed to meet the rising demand for the staple food item.
Unfortunately, reports indicate that storage facilities within the country have already reached their maximum capacity. As a result, farmers are unable to sell a substantial portion of the rice they harvested last year.
Surprisingly, despite the commencement of rice cultivation in Iran’s northern regions this month, it is projected that by the end of summer, an astounding 45% of the previous year’s rice yield will remain unsold.
Hassan Taqizadeh, a member of the Rice Sellers Association in Mazandaran Province, expressed his concerns regarding the current situation. He noted that in previous years, farmers would typically retain 10% to 20% of the produced rice at this stage. However, this year, that percentage has dramatically risen to approximately 45%.
Taqizadeh further explained that this surplus of rice in the hands of farmers has led to an unprecedented increase in the price of high-quality rice. The price has dropped from 120,000 tomans per kilogram to 70,000 tomans per kilogram. Consequently, the rice market in Iran is facing a state of stagnation.
Masih Keshavarz, the secretary of Iran’s Rice Suppliers and Producers Association, acknowledges this predicament, citing unsold high-yield rice in Mazandaran, the main rice production hub in Iran.
In response, the Ministry of Agriculture plans to reduce foreign rice imports this year, with the aim of promoting the sale of domestically-grown rice and supporting local farmers’ livelihoods.
Based on customs statistics, rice imports in April this year amounted to nearly 78,000 tons, with an estimated value of $91.7 million. In comparison, during the same period last year, over 163,000 tons of rice, valued at approximately $271 million, were imported.
These figures indicate a significant decrease in rice imports for this month, with a 52% reduction in weight (around 86,000 tons), or a 66% decrease in value (approximately $180 million), compared to the corresponding period a year ago.
The primary sources of rice imports during this period were India, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates.

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