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Iran’s agrifood exports up 9% in 4 months to late July: IRICA

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s customs office says agrifood exports rose by 9% to over $1.7 billion in four months to late July.

The Iranian customs administration (IRICA) says exports of agrifood rose by 9% in the four months to July 22 this year compared to similar period last year despite sanctions facing the country as well as restrictions imposed at borders to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

IRICA deputy chief Mehrdad Jamal Arvanaghi said on Saturday that Iran’s agrifood exports had reached a total of $1.7 billion in value terms in the first four months of the current calendar year.

Jamal Arvanaghi told the IRIB News that pistachio topped the list of agrifood export items from Iran over the period at $279 million, including $67 million worth of pistachio kernel shipments .

Iran exported $147 million worth of watermelon over the four-month period, he said, adding that tomato, apple, confectionery, potato, dates and tomato paste had accounted for a bulk of the value of the exports between March and July.

Total weight of agrifood products exported over the period had amounted to 2.5 million metric tons, said the official, adding that most of the shipments went to Iraq, China, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates.

The surge in agrifood exports comes as Iran has continued to struggle under a series of American bans that restrict access to banking services and trade routes.

It also comes despite continued restrictions at borders to control the spread of the coronavirus although some countries have eased restrictions following a successful vaccination campaigns against the disease.

Iran has encouraged increased activity in its agricultural sector in recent years as the country seeks to diversify the economy away from crude revenues targeted by US sanctions.

Agriculture has been among the best performers of the Iranian economy since US bans were imposed in 2018. Recent government figures show that annual output in the sector increased to over 130 million tons this year from just over 90 million tons recorded in 2013.

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