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Iran Bans Export Of Onions And Potatoes To Keep Prices Low

Onions at a food market in Iran. File photo
Onions at a food market in Iran. File photo

The Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mining and Commerce has banned the export of onions and potatoes. The ban will become effective on April 4.

Prices for for onions and potatoes have risen to unusual levels in the Iran in recent weeks. One kilogram of onions is now 160,000 rials (roughly $1.25), which is a high price as minimum wage earners make ends meet with around $100 per months.

The ministry said the ban was imposed in order to regulate domestic markets.

The main reason for the price rise is the imbalance between local prices compared with prices in neighboring countries. As the Iranian currency has lost its value against the dollar, merchants make more money by exporting certain food items, such as vegetables or meat.

There have been reports that even meat imported to keep prices low is exported by influential people, to pocket the difference.

At the same time, Iranian authorities lifted the ban on exporting tomatoes.

Recent floods across Iran has washed away plantation areas, leaving a bleak prospect for the domestic agricultural products, and most certainly, Iran has to import vegetables for the next year as flooded agricultural lands will not be usable for some time.