Iran has reported a slight increase in agrifood exports in the two months to May 21 despite continued restrictions imposed at borders because of the coronavirus pandemic, says the country’s Ministry of Agriculture Jihad (MAJ).
MAJ’s deputy for planning and economy Ahmad Ali Keykha said on Saturday that the value of agrifood exports from Iran in the first two months of the current calendar year had reached $896 million, up 2% against the similar period last year.
Exports had increased by 20% year in year in April-May in volume terms, Keykha said, adding that the weight of shipments sent from Iran over the period had amounted to 1.974 million metric tons.
Watermelon topped the list of major agrifood items exported from Iran in the two months to late May with $126 million worth of sales, followed by pistachio at $122 million and tomato at $102 million, said Keikha.
He added that apple and dates exports had also been profitable over the period as they were responsible for nearly $100 million worth of revenues derived from agrifood exports.
The official said, however, that imports of food and farming products into Iran in the two months to May 21 had declined by 18% in value terms to $2.202 billion.
Rising agrifood exports in recent years has helped the Iranian government to cover for the losses suffered because of American sanctions on the country’s crude exports.
Better exports have also led to higher yields and increased cultivation of crops across Iran. Government figures show that annual agrifood output in the country has reached nearly 130 million metric tons, up from nearly 100 million tons recorded in 2013.
A report published earlier this week by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said that Iran’s agriculture sector had expanded by 4.5% in the year to late March.
That has come despite hits suffered to the output and exports of farming products in Iran mainly because by the spread of the coornavirus in the country.