Adding to drought and water shortage, now the low guaranteed purchase price of wheat by the government has caused Iran’s wheat farmers in Fars province to no longer be able to continue farming. The staggering high prices of input and the low guaranteed purchase price of wheat (5000 tomans per kilo) by the government have destroyed the business of these farmers.
Fars province is one of the important centers of agricultural production, which in 2019, was ranked second in Iran in wheat and barley production.
This province with an area of 122,608 km and 36 cities has a variety of climates and this has led to diversity in the production of agricultural products in this province.
The current situation of agriculture in Fars is not good, low rainfall, astronomical prices of agricultural inputs and animal feed and the low guaranteed purchase price of wheat, which is announced at 5 thousand tomans per kilogram, has destroyed their production and lives so they are forced to sell their fields to ranchers, because of the current price of the wheat, they are even not able to pay the cultivation costs and will become losers.
A wheat farmer in the central part of Zarrin Dasht, Fars, in an interview with the state-run news agency Mehr, while complaining about the government’s action in setting a low guaranteed purchase price of wheat, said: “Why does the government not care about the agricultural sector? Does the current price meet the costs of the farmers?”
This rate is not appropriate with the staggering costs of production, because the farmers are stuck in all their costs.
This wheat farmer, while criticizing the government’s policies in pricing the guaranteed purchase of wheat, stated: “Is the answer to the slogan of supporting production that farmers are forced to feed their lush wheat fields to livestock to prevent further losses? These measures cause the instability of production and the lack of self-sufficiency of the country in the field of agricultural products.”
What should a farmer who has no way of earning a living and a rancher who cannot afford to buy animal feed do? Who is responsible for the situation of the farmers who are auctioning their products and the ranchers who sell their sheep on credit in the form of a one-year check due to their inability to buy animal feed?
All this is due to the exchange rate fluctuations, the cost of wheat production in the country has increased unbridled, to the point that, according to wheat farmers, the price of pesticides in the agricultural sector has increased nine times, the price of seeds and fertilizers has increased unprecedentedly. The cost of agricultural machinery and mechanization has also skyrocketed.
According to detailed studies, with the 9-fold increase in the price of phosphate and nitrogen fertilizers and the increase in transportation, collection, mechanization, and lack of liquidity in the hands of farmers, the final days of these hard-working strata has started.
As a result, more than 20 percent of farmers’ green wheat crops have been sold to ranchers for grazing, which is destroying the wheat supply of the country.
Due to the low value of the Rial against the dollar, the price of wheat is more than 8,000 Tomans in neighbor countries, which certainly creates the ground for smuggling for the brokers of the government, mostly working for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
With the current population, the country needs 14 million tons of wheat per year, which means that the country can cover only about 50 percent of this amount, and the remaining 50 percent must be imported at an exorbitant price.
The Strategic Agricultural Products Pricing Council, which is responsible for determining the guaranteed purchase of agricultural products, including wheat, did not pay attention to this issue, and the government shirked from its responsibility and abandoned farmers alone with their problem.
It is predicted that this year Iran will face a serious problem to ensure food security (wheat), and if the government is indifferent to announcing the real price of wheat in the next crop year, Iran will face the problem of farmers not cultivating wheat, and an intensification in poverty and starvation of the society’s lower classes.