DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s government granted permission for the import of three million tonnes of wheat in January, local media reported late on Saturday.
Of the total quantity, 1.6 million tonnes have been unloaded at ports and another 400,000 tonnes have arrived and are ready for unloading, Iran’s English language daily Financial Tribune reported, quoting the director general of the Government Trading Corporation’s Commercial Services Department.
The remaining 1 million tonnes will be imported by May 20, Hassan Nejad-Fallah was quoted as saying.
President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Iran’s farming sector was not hit by the coronavirus outbreak and that Iranians need not worry about food supply as grain production was enough to cover local needs until March 2021.
The origin of these latest wheat imports and suppliers was not mentioned in the reports.
Iran’s wheat production is forecast at 14 million tonnes this Iranian year ending March 2021 with the government looking at state purchases of 10.5 million tonnes, Esmail Esfandiaripour, an adviser to the agriculture minister was quoted as saying by Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency on Saturday.
Food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies including animal feed are exempt from US sanctions reimposed in 2018.
Iranian authorities say the sanctions have nevertheless deterred some foreign banks from doing any Iranian business, including funding deals such as food shipments.
Reporting by Parisa Hafezi, writing By Maha El Dahan; editing by Gareth Jones and Jason Neely