TEHRAN- Iran has imported 1.298 million tons of rice during the first 10 months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2019-January 20, 2020), the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) announced.
According to Rouhollah Latifi, so far, 1.053 million tons of the mentioned amount has been fully cleared, while the clearance licensing process is underway for another 51,000 tons. Imports of foreign rice are prohibited every year during the harvest season of domestic rice, which is from late July to late November, Latifi said, adding that since the bans on imports were lifted, the imports have been underway smoothly. The country’s rice cultivation and production have grown this year due to favorable weather conditions and imports have also been higher than the previous years, the official said. Back in October 2019, Deputy Agriculture Minister Abdolmehdi Bakhshandeh announced that Iran has become completely self-sufficient in rice production as it plans to cut up to two million tons of imports a year. The Statistical Center of Iran estimates that Iranians consume approximately 35 kilograms of rice per person each year. That would mean a domestic demand of nearly three million tons for a country of 83 million people. Bakhshandeh said rice self-sufficiency would save Iran more than $1.1 billion in imports, adding that it would also be a major success amid efforts to minimize the impacts of the American sanctions on food security in the country.Source