Iran’s government has announced plans to increase the country’s meat production capacity, with large-scale investment over three years.
Head of the Central Association of Animal Breeders, Cyrus Rusta, reported that the special working group for meat market normalisation had submitted a draft programme for meat industry development to the Agriculture Islamic Council of the Marlis (Parliament).
According to the document, Iran should reach self-sufficiency in all types of meat production by 2016. The country produced a total of 970,000 tonnes (t) of meat in 2012, equal to around 90% of the total demand of Iranian citizens, with the remaining 10% provided by imports.
Rusta said the government was planning to allocate IRR900bn (US$735m) for implementation of the programme, with the money used to provide animal facilities with the necessary level of profitability and liquidity.
Taking into account growing demand in Iran, the project aims to increase the volume of meat production in the country by approximately 200,000t over the next few years. Additionally, the investment will create the conditions for further development of Iran’s meat industry after 2016, so the country could potentially become an active meat exporter in the future.
“Currently, despite the great potential in the field of animal production and the creation of a number of agro-livestock farms, there are still many challenges in the industry, and some livestock enterprises operate only at 20-30% of their production capacity,” said Rusta.
“In particular, animals delivered to the slaughterhouse are often underweight and do not meet the accepted quality standards. On the other hand, Iranian sheep are exported to the countries of the Persian Gulf, while the still-young steers are smuggled to Turkey. All these factors taken together prevent meat production development in the country and do not let us achieve self-sufficiency in this area.”