The country’s Minister of Jihad-e-Agriculture Mahmoud Hojjati said that, given the current state of relations between Russia and the European Union (EU), a special office to develop food exports to Russia had been established at the Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture in Iran.
"The main types of products that will be supplied to the Russian market are poultry meat and eggs," said Hojjati. "Delivering Iranian food to Russia requires extra effort from the country’s producers to increase production volumes."
The Iranian province of Mazandaran is likely to be the first area to establish poultry meat exports to Russia. According to Gholam Reza Azhari, head of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture for Mazandaran, the province is capable of doubling its meat production and could supply Russia with almost 200,000 tonnes (t) of poultry meat per year.
"Given these circumstances, it is possible to supply agricultural products and, in particular, poultry to the Russian market. In the Mazandaran province, there are more than 2,500 poultry farms, which produce up to 180,000t of chicken meat per year. At the moment, due to a lack of markets, more than half of the poultry production facilities in Mazandaran are not operating," he said.
Mohammad Mohammadpur, director of industry, mines and trade for Mazandaran, added that the authorities were already working on establishing the best supply routes to the market. "The price of transporting agricultural products by road remains high and is not economically viable. So we will mostly use marine vessels, equipped with refrigeration units, and trains for the supply of poultry meat to Russia," he said.
Industry observers predicted that Iran would be able to deliver more than 250,000t of poultry meat to Russia per year, but added that Russia would probably be more interested in imports of beef, not poultry. "Russia is almost completely self-sufficient in poultry meat, while beef is mostly imported. Despite several major projects on beef, launched in recent years, we continue to be a major importer. Supplies of quality and inexpensive beef from Iran would be more beneficial for Russia than poultry," said Russian agricultural analyst Eugene Gerden.