IRICA figures published on Monday showed that rice imports into Iran had reached $601 million in the four months to July 22, down 49% from nearly $1.2 billion worth of imports reported in the same period last year.
Shipments also dropped by 31% in volume terms compared to March-July 2022 to reach 509,348 metric tons (mt), showed the figures.
Iran relies on India and Pakistan for over 90% of its rice imports. However, the country has imposed restrictions on imports of the staple grain amid a rise in domestic output which has led to lower market prices and has caused discontent among local farmers.
Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Mokhber convened an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss issues related to the surplus of domestically-grown rice.
IRNA news agency said Mokhber had ordered governors in three northern Iranian provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan, which are responsible for a bulk of Iran’s rice output, to immediately resolve issues related to pricing and supply of rice.
The report said rice inventories in the three provinces had reached some 377,000 mt.
IRICA figures show Iran imported some 1.779 million mt of rice worth $2.137 billion in the calendar year to March 20, up 109% and 192% in volume and value terms, respectively, compared to the previous year.
The relatively large volume of rice imports into Iran last year came because the government decided to lift a seasonal ban on imports of the crop to help reduce prices in the market.