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Meat Becomes Unaffordable To More Iranian Families As Prices Rise

People shopping in a traditional market in the capital, Tehran, a day after imposed mandatory regulation by the government on Monday to wear masks. July 06, 2020.

A new survey shows that 8.2% of Iranian households cannot afford to eat red meat as they fall below the poverty line.

The result published by the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) on Sunday, also shows a 3.5 percent increase in households who cannot afford red meat, compared with the same period in July 2019.

According to the survey, 14.4% of Iranian households also ate red meat only a few times last year. By contrast, 40.2 percent said they eat red meat a few days a week and 32.8 percent a few days a month. There is also a 4.3% minority who consumes red meat every day.

In late July, there were reports of rising red meat prices in Iran. At the time, a local news website, Tabnak, said smuggling red meat to neighboring countries was one of the main reasons for the price hike. "Due to fluctuations in exchange rates, the incentive to smuggle out livestock has increased," Tabnak said.

The latest announced price of red meat in local fruit and vegetable markets shows that one kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of stew beef now costs about 900,000 rials (approximately $40), and one kilogram of leg of lamb is sold at about 1,190,000 rials (roughly $53).

The poverty-line income needed by a four-member household in Iran has risen from 25 million to 45 million rials ($200) monthly in the past two years, showing an eighty percent increase, the Islamic Parliament Research Center (IPRC) said in a recent study.

This means most ordinary workers and laborers do not even earn enough to reach the poverty-line income they need to subsist. Minimum monthly wage is currently under 30 million rials (around $200), despite workers' demands for a 50-million monthly minimum wage.

The poverty line in 2010 in Tehran was about ten million rials, which slowly increased until 2017, and then spiked sharply as the national currency lost value and inflation jumped.