Life in Iran TodayIran: The Government Loots Farmers

Iran: The Government Loots Farmers

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In recent months, Iranian farmers’ crops have deteriorated, and their one-year production destroyed. The government’s lack of support for farmers has forced them to sell their produce at low prices and at a loss.

Regarding the unhealthy situation of farmers and the bad consequences for the people, Mojtaba Yousefi, a member of Iran’s parliament, said:

“For example, today we have reached a level of self-sufficiency in the discussion of agricultural products, but due to mismanagement that is happening and lack of support for infrastructure that is not happening in this area, we are worried next year that farmers will not be able to produce next year,” ILNA news agency quoted him as saying on November 4.

In a video clip posted on social media, farmers say about the lack of support from the government and the loss of their crops:

“Now the market is not in a good condition, now we have so many tomatoes, we do not have good sales at all. Unfortunately, we are not supported at all, I ask the organs and officials to think a little about the farmers.”

Tomato growers are still worried that their products will become animal feed, or they will be forced to sell it to brokers and government agencies at very low prices.

Regarding the situation of tomato growers in the south of Kerman, a Kermani farmer says: “We are picking or drying these good tomatoes or burning them and giving them to the sheep. We worked so hard; I did not get anything. Here, four hectares are under tomato cultivation, which, as you can see, we are removing this part due to lack of economic efficiency.”

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At the beginning of the year, the lack of government support for agricultural products caused a sharp drop in prices. So many farmers left their crops behind to feed the cattle, then the government mafias started their work, and they bought the farmers’ produce for free and sent it to the government or Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) cold stores.

The situation of onion farmers is not better than the situation of tomato farmers. The onion growers are also shouting about the injustice of the government and its lack of support.

In a video posted on social media, they say that they have wasted their time and that the product is left in their hands and they have to sell it at a low price: “Our onion stayed in the ground Our tomatoes stayed in the ground.”

Government institutions and brokers buy and store farmers‘ products at low prices, but with the onset of the season, they supply these products to the domestic market at exorbitant prices, exporting large quantities abroad and seizing windfall profits.

“Tomatoes, whose price has risen to 150,000 rials [$0.55] per kilogram in shops these days, were bought from farmers in July of this year, just four months ago, for less than one-twentieth of this price (!), I.e. 4,000 rials [$0.01] per kilogram, and this caused a large number of Tomato growers should give up their production and do not care about its harvest. This story, of course, is true of other agricultural products, such as onions, which are also breaking record prices these days.” Keyhan daily wrote on November 2.

Regarding the high price of fruit, this paper added: “Despite the production of various fruits in the country, the three factors of high production cost, abundant brokerage and intermediation in the agricultural sector and lack of market supervision are the main reasons for the high price of fruit, which cannot be reduced until they are corrected.

“Fruit prices in the market are still rising, despite officials’ promises to regulate the market and reduce prices, and the access of the average person to such products has become more difficult.

“The ceiling and floor price of each kilogram of rose apple is between eight thousand and 100,000 rials [$0.37] and the price of the excellent sample is 120,000 rials [$0.44].

“Also, the minimum and maximum of the rates of premium ‘peach varieties’ have been announced at 50,000, 70,000, and 100,000 rials [$0.18, $0.25 and $0.37], respectively. The same prices for Asgari grapes are 60,000, 80,000, and 90,000 rials [$0.22, $0.29, and $0.33]. As it turns out, these wholesale prices in the central square of Tehran to reach the shops and eventually the consumer will be more than these figures.

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“Despite the fact that Assadollah Kargar, the head of the fruit sellers’ union, had said: ‘With the supply of autumn fruits, prices will fall sharply,’ the latest prices of fruits in the central square of Tehran Fruit and Vegetable Market indicate that prices have not decreased even despite the supply of autumn fruits.

“Just a month ago, the government increased the price of fertilizer inputs five to ten times. For one unit of chemical fertilizer consumption, nine units of product increase.

“These are the prices for wholesale, and when these fruits reach the shops, according to the law, the price increases by 30 percent and in practice by more than 100 percent.” (Keyhan, October 18)

Acknowledging the shortage of agricultural products in the market, Keyhan daily admits to exporting these products and wrote:

“Although autumn is not the time to harvest tomatoes, and of course the domestic market needs it a lot, we suddenly hear in the news that 14,000 tons of this product have been exported and this trend is still going to continue.” (Keyhan, November 2)

It is not only agricultural products that are exported by government looters, but also many of the items needed by the people, including eggs. This is at a time when egg prices are currently skyrocketing.

Regarding the export of eggs abroad, the head of the Hamedan Poultry and Fish Union said: “Hamedan eggs are exported to three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and the UAE. Egg exports have led to higher prices in the market. Currently, the price of each egg comb in the market is 25,000-30,000 rials [$0.92-1.11] for the consumer.” (Javan news agency, June 21)

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