Iran '99 Wheat Buying Hits 3.0MMT To Date; Sugar 800,000MT
June 29, TEHRAN (Dow Jones)-- Iran has imported around 3.0 million metric
tons of wheat and 800,000 tons of sugar this year, an Iranian Commerce
Ministry official said Tuesday.
The Iranian year started March 21.
Iran 's government has allocated $1.5 billion to buy essential food
commodities for the country this year because a drought has reduced domestic
food production, Houshang Dehqan, head of the Commerce Ministry's distribution
network supervisory office, told the Iranian state news agency IRNA.
The drought, the worst for 30 years, is expected to increase the country's
food shopping bill and bring overall costs to around $3.5 billion, according
to Agriculture Ministry estimates.
Last year, the Iranian government bought 6.8 million tons of excess
wheat from farmers. This year, the drought is expected to reduce that amount
to 4.5 to 5.0 million tons.
Last week, Iran 's Commerce Minister, Mohammad Shariarmadari, said the
government has earmarked $3.4 billion in the current year to import a wide
range of essential commodities including wheat, rice, cooking oil and sugar
for public and industrial consumption.
The commerce minister said that using $1.8 billion of the allocated
amount, Iran would be importing 5.6 million tons of wheat, 800,000 tons
of sugar and 900,000 tons of cooking oil.
Around 500,000 tons of the sugar imports were in raw form to save on
scarce hard currency, make use of domestic processing capacity and to create
employment, said the Commerce Ministry's Dehqan.