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Iran sees wheat production rising despite drought

TEHRAN, July 17 (Reuters) - Iran expects a modest increase in wheat production to 9.25 million tonnes in the year begun in March despite a severe drought in much of the country, an agriculture official was quoted on Monday as saying.

Ali-Bakhsh Dehqani, director of the agriculture ministry's grains department, told the daily newspaper Hayat-e No that Iran still needed to import 4.5 to 5.0 million tonnes of wheat in the year which began on March 20.

Iran produced about 8.7 million tonnes of wheat last year and imported about six million tonnes.

Dehqani said that the projected output increase was due to a rise in dry farming production in western regions, which have been less affected by the drought.

He estimated total output from dry farming would reach two million tonnes this year.

Iran has been hit by a drought in 13 of the past 22 years, harming local food production and leading to higher imports, especially of wheat and rice.


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