Iran to import 2m tonnes of wheat


Iran's government gave a green light to the import of 2 million tonnes of wheat by the Commerce Ministry, a newspaper reported, even though the country became self-sufficient in the grain in 2004.


The report in Tehran Times newspaper on Thursday said the move was aimed at stabilising "the domestic market needs," without giving details.


Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.


Iran was a big wheat importer from Canada, Australia and Argentina but an Iranian daily said in December it exported more than 300,000 tonnes in the three months from September last year to destinations including India and Gulf states.


Iran continued to import wheat even after it said four years ago that it had become self-sufficient.


The Commerce Ministry said in July that Iran would export 1 million tonnes of wheat to neighbouring Iraq by the end of the 2007-08 Iranian year, and other officials later confirmed the exports had already started. The Iranian year ended on March 20.


Tehran Times said statistics from the Agriculture Ministry showed Iran had produced 15.404 million tonnes of wheat within the last three years.


Iranian officials in March said dry weather in the country had caused damage to farm land and was expected to hurt agricultural output. (Reuters)