Publishe Date: 1:40 PM - 10/4/2015 | Print

‘Unusual’ wheat loadings for Iran in Europe

Economy - Ships are scheduled to make unusual loadings of about 60,000 tonnes of wheat for Iran, but overall demand from the country is expected to be very low this year, European traders say.

One trader, quoted by Reuters, said the German shipment was purchased in August by a global trading house for private buyers.

“Overall demand from Iranian private and state buyers is very low compared to the substantial purchases made last year," he said.

The trader said the shipments are unusual but do not show a major return to the market by Iran, “more that purchases were not stopped totally by their import duty”.

The Iranian government slapped the import duties on wheat and animal feed barely in July in order to discourage purchases from abroad.  

Last month, Reuters claimed to have seen an official document which showed Iran’s Agriculture Ministry had lifted the tariffs.

Officials have said Iran would not import wheat this year thanks to satisfactory state purchases of the crop from local farmers and decent harvest.

A harvested wheat field in Abadeh in Iran’s Fars Province

Overall guaranteed purchases have surpassed 8 million tonnes this year, according to local media which provide regular updates on the strategic buys from Iranian wheat growers.  

Additionally, there are sufficiently good stocks for six months of supply from last year, Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Qanbari has said.

Iran has turned into a major wheat importer over the past decade as the country has seen its population grow to over 80 million and a lingering drought sharply reduce harvest.

The government abandoned a self-sufficiency drive for wheat production to avoid putting more strains on the country’s water reserves.

Iran has launched cultivation in Kazakhstan, marking its first farmland investment overseas, Agriculture Ministry’s Mohammad Reza Shafeinia said recently.

Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati has said the government envisioned investment on 500,000 hectares of farmland in a number of countries to secure food supplies.     

Food prices are a key driver of Iran’s double-digit inflation which shot over 40% under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but has fallen to hover around 15% since his departure. 

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