It turns out that Iran is not self-sufficient at all, contrary to what the Iranian president and his government have been claiming for years. The regime has said on a number of occasions that the country produces enough wheat to cover the country’s consumption.
However, state-run publications are showing that these claims are completely inaccurate. Or rather another example of its propaganda tactics to make the domestic situation look better than it actually is.
It had been thought that the import of wheat had been banned by the Department of Agriculture since the beginning of 2016. The only exception would be temporary imports in compliance with customs laws. Yet since the start of this supposed ban, there have been millions of metric tons of wheat that have been brought into the country’s market. The reasons given for these imports are varied, from “guaranteed purchase” to “export” purposes.
Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture have said that there are two to three million tons imported every year. The price is between 2,500 and 3,000 tomans per kilo. This is in stark contrast to the price Iranian wheat is purchased at – around 1,700 tomans per kilo.
It is such a difference in prices that highlights the regime’s corruption. Once again, the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is profiting from a situation that has been brought about by mismanagement.
And once again, it is the ordinary Iranian person – in this case, the independent wheat farmers who have no option but to sell their product at low prices to traders or to the government – that stand to lose out.
Traders often take advantage of the wheat farmers and will make the product go further by mixing sand and grit into it, sending their profits soaring. It is hard to imagine how this could make much of an impact on the traders but when you consider that many use thousands of tons of sand it becomes much clearer.
The state-run ISNA news agency, reported about the situation, describing the players in the wheat trade as “mafia”. It quoted the Federation of Iranian Food Associations director as saying that the Agricultural Ministry has been made aware of the problem on a number of occasions but that it is often brushed off.
The director also said that there are government officials involved in the scheme. Farmers have also said that they believe the government is trying to destroy their livelihoods.
Another publication also pointed to the wheat situation spiraling out of control because agricultural goods have not been subjected to checks for years. It seems that a significant amount of the country’s budget – around $5 billion – has been spent on the imports of agricultural goods. A far cry from self-sufficiency!