The Iranian agriculture ministry (MAJ) has ordered imports of red meat into the country in an attempt to control rising prices in the domestic market.
An MAJ letter addressed to the head of the State Livestock Affairs Logistics Company on Tuesday ordered imports of up to 10,000 metric tons (mt) of fresh meat into Iran in the upcoming weeks.
The letter cited in a report by the semi-official Mehr news agency said the imports was necessary to prevent meat price hikes in the domestic market in the run up to Iranian the New Year in late March and the holy fasting month of Ramadan in early February.
The imports will focus on lamb and mutton shipments as prices of the two meat varieties have increased by at least 20% in the local market in recent weeks.
Figures by the Iranian statistics agency and government estimates show that Iran had a surplus of fresh meat in the nine months to December last year.
However, prices increased consistently over January and February, causing MAJ authorities to cancel exports permits issued earlier in the winter to reduce the surplus.
Iran normally imports large shipments of frozen meat from Brazil to respond to a demand that is estimated to be more than half a million mt per year.
However, the country also takes delivery of fresh meat shipments mostly from countries in Central Asia to boost stocks and to control the prices.
MAJ figures show that meat imports into Iran declined by over 80% in the calendar year to March 2021 to only 30,000 mt.
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