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16 September 2009 - 10:13

These days, new measures are being taken to help Iranian rice farmers who are on the ropes due to uncontrolled foreign rice imports.

Earlier, a number of MPs from the northern cities of Iran had submitted a letter to the head of Islamic Republic of Iran's Broadcasting (IRIB), Ezzatollah Zarqami asking him to stop airing advertisements for imported rice. The request was agreed by Zarqami who directly ordered for bringing such TV ads to an end from August 28. 

Such a decision was made when in recent years Pakistani, Indian and American rice have opened their way to Iranian market. Meanwhile Iran's Ministry of Commerce has not supported the rice farmers and domestic products have remained untouched in rice mills. 

The situation has posed a threat to Iranian rice cultivation. According to one of the rice dealers there are currently more than 100 types of rice are being traded in the rice market of northern Iran. Foreign rice comprise more than 80 percent of them and the share of domestic productions is only 20 percent. 

But after the unrestrained importation of foreign rice, referring to the article 40 of Iran's annual budget (2009-10) the MPs began to define a new tariff for imported rice which has been increased up to 90 percent of imported rice price. The MPs who have asked for the implementation of such plan include Ali Asqar Yousefnejad, the representative of Sari and Lahouti, the representative of Langaroud. On this issue, Lahouti told Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA): "The new tariff for imported rice is equal to that of foreign cars. Last year the tariff for rice was nothing and this year has just been increased to 25 percent. We should take new measures to resolve such a problem based on the regulations of the country." 

On the other hand, rice importers who gained tremendous profits during recent years have turned to UAE produced rice after trading Pakistani and Indian productions. The bulk of the new importation is estimated to 3534000 tons with the price of 259,711,950 US dollars. 

But the last act for preventing rice importation was made by the new Minister of Commerce. Seriously criticized by MPs for uncontrolled rice imports when he was supposed to be ratified, Mahdi Qasanfari has increased the tariff for imported rice from 20 percent to 41 percent to receive the consent of the critical MPs.  

At the session held in Parliament (Majlis) for giving the vote of confidence to Mahdi Qasanfari, an MP, Mohammad Yari criticized Iran's Ministry of Commerce for unrestrained imports of foreign rice. Answering an objection by some other MPs that such practice dates back to the time of former Minister of commerce, Mirkazemi, Parliament Speaker, Ali Larijani pointed out: "Such criticism is not unacceptable, since at that time Mr. Qasanfari was the deputy of Minister of Commerce."

News Code 17357