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Drought pushes Iran to import wheat

Press TV - Iran has announced it will have to import many grains including wheat this year to combat a drought that has plagued the country.

"We must purchase wheat from foreign suppliers this year since the country's wheat production will not meet the nation's demand," Commerce Minister Massoud Mir-Kazemi told reporters Tuesday.

Wheat harvesting in Iran's Khouzestan province (file photo)

Commerce Ministry would also have to import sugar, oilseeds, barley and corn this year, he said.

"We have to import between one and 1.2 million tons of rice," Mir-Kazemi added. "This is not something new."

Iran, once a net wheat importer, attained self-sufficiency in the grain in 2004 after extensive effort by the country's Ministry of Agriculture.

The Islamic Republic joined the ranks of wheat exporting nations last year when it began sending consignments of the grain to Iraq and Oman.

But Iran suspended its wheat exports in March because of drought conditions and a shortage in its domestic supply.

Drought and heat stress are expected to cause significant losses to the nation's winter grain crops including wheat output, which is said to have declined by 20 percent compared to last year, its lowest level in six years. will be privatized in the next two years.

... Payvand News - 06/12/08 ... --

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