Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated hundreds of new agricultural development projects across the country as he nears the final days of his administration.
Rouhani’s website said in a Monday report that the president had opened a total of 585 food and farming projects using a video conference link from his office in Tehran.
The projects have cost 117.3 trillion rials (nearly $0.5 billion), said the report, adding that they would create a total of 24,134 permanent jobs in various provinces.
The projects included 14 major aquaculture farms and fishery infrastructure development schemes in four provinces, said the report.
Rouhani hailed the growth in the Iranian agriculture sector in recent years as a sign the country has moved to become more self-sufficient in food production despite economic hardships caused by the US sanctions and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I thank the farmers who have ensured our food self-sufficiency through their hard-working, honest and rough hands,” said the president whose second term in office will end in early August.
He added that food self-sufficiency in Iran had reached 85% this year from 50% in 2013 when he took office.
The remarks came against previous statement by Rouhani suggesting that Iran’s agricultural output had reached over 130 million tons per year from 90 million tons in 2013.
Government figures show that the agricultural sector had experienced back-to-back periods of growth in recent years as Iran has encouraged more exports of agrifood from the country to compensate for the losses suffered in exports of energy products because of US sanctions.
The expansion in agricultural activity has also helped the government boost jobs for the country’s young population.
Recent figures by Statistical Center if Iran (SCI) shows provinces with high levels of farming activity have had the lowest jobless rate in the quarter to late June.