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Iran stops meat imports amid acute oversupply

Authorities have imposed a temporary ban on imports of meat into Iran as the country faces an acute oversupply despite a growing wave of smuggling into neighboring countries.

Iran's caretaker agriculture minister Abbas Keshavarz said on Monday that red meat imports had been halted, at least for the time being, adding that a surging domestic output and piling inventories of imported meat would suffice the needs of the country in the upcoming months.

Strategic inventories have reached an acceptable level and it seems that there is currently no need for meat imports said Keshavarz.

The announcement comes a month after reports suggested Iran had halted meat imports from Kazakhstan, a main supplier for the past year.

Officials said at the time that the halt was mainly due to quarantine and health issues and was not related to the oversupply in Iran.

However, head of Iran's association of livestock farmers said on Monday that annual output of red meat had reached nearly 900,000 tons, adding that the country had imported hundreds of thousands of tons of more meat over the past months.

Said Soltani said that Iran had allowed much more imports than its quota of 10 percent of the domestic consumption, saying continued imports would badly hurt the farmers.

He said Iran was facing an oversupply of red meat despite the fact that smuggling into neighboring countries like Afghanistan and Iraq had continued unabated in recent months.

The sudden surge in meat output in Iran comes as the country produced less than 200,000 tons in the first six months of the current calendar year between March and September 2019.

Beef still accounts for the bulk of the red meat produced in Iran, more than 50 percent, followed by lamb and mutton, according to the official government statistics published in November.

Source: Press TV

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