0959 GMT January 18, 2019
Iran’s agricultural exports have witnessed a 30-percent increase during the first half of the current fiscal year (March 21-Sept. 22), a lawmaker said.
Speaking to Iran Daily, Jalal Mahmoudzadeh, a member of Parliament Agriculture Committee, said the increase in exports is largely the result of the surge of foreign currencies in Iran, which has made export of many agricultural products lucrative.
“The conditions of the foreign exchange market and high prices are detrimental to all aspects (of economy) expect that of exports,” he added.
“The only sector where exports is now profitable for the country is agricultural products,” he added.
Iran’s currency, rial, has lost more than half of its value against the dollar in recent months, with a heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.
The currency collapse intensified after the US announcement in May that it was pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, which lifted certain sanctions in exchange for some curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
“Given the lower prices of the agricultural products compared with the imported ones, the farmers can capitalize on the current foreign exchange market and export their crops,” the lawmaker said.
“The high prices of foreign currencies is an opportunity for agricultural sector.”
The lawmaker called on the farmers to take advantage of the current state of affairs and try to export the surplus of their crops.
He also urged the government to be more meticulous in designating what products should be banned from export.
In a bid to control profiteering and regulating the market, the government decided to ban the export of 18 agricultural products in July after the price of the products soared domestically due to their exports.
The lawmaker said the government’s regulations, however, should not lead to the producers’ loss, adding that in some cases framers need to be paid subsidies to offset their loss.
He, however, said the farmers need to be obliged to cash in their foreign currencies inside particular banks in the country as well.
Mahmoudzadeh said the promotion of exports will not materialize without an upgraded packaging industry, adding that poor packaging has acted as one of the main drawbacks of the agricultural products.
“Currently, some countries have capitalized on the poor conditions of our packaging industry by buying our agricultural products in bulk and then export them to other countries with their own brands,” he said, adding that these countries’ revamped packaging industry has generated further added-value for their exports.
The parliamentarian also called on the supervisory bodies in the country not to allow poor packaged products to be exported.
“The government should confront those who make a poor job of producing and exporting agricultural products so that the grounds are paved for satisfactory exports,” Mahmoudzadeh concluded.