Iran cuts cigarette imports

| January 3, 2018

Iran will have reduced its cigarette imports from four billion to two billion before the end of the current Iranian calendar year, Mar 21, 2018, according to a Mehr News Agency report.

Speaking at the 28th Working Group session of the Taskforce against Smuggling Goods and Foreign Exchange, the head of the Iranian Tobacco Planning and Supervision Center Ali-Asghar Ramzi put Iran’s current annual cigarette consumption at about 55 billion.

A number of reports in Iran last year described how the country was aiming to become self-sufficient in leaf-tobacco production and cigarette manufacturing.

And Ramzi said that 1,300 direct and more than 4,000 indirect employment opportunities had been created already in 10 cigarette production plants in the country.

However, in October doubt was cast on claims that Iran would become self-sufficient in the production of leaf tobacco within five years.

A story in The Financial Tribune quoting the Al Sharq newspaper said that while the designers of the country’s sixth five-year development plan, 2017-2022, had envisioned Iran becoming self-sufficient, the plan seemed unlikely to be fulfilled given what the Tribune described as the sorry state of Iran’s tobacco industry.

The plan had set the goal of producing between 40,000 and 50,000 tons of tobacco a year.

But, according to Ramzi, only 20 percent of this amount was being produced in Iran. The other 80 percent was imported from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

While it makes sense to increase local production since imported tobacco is said to be 30-40 percent more expensive than is domestic tobacco, the problem is that former tobacco farmers, who now grow rice or other agricultural products, are said not to be willing to switch back to tobacco.

Meanwhile, in August, another report in the Tribune said that Iran was expected this year to manufacture more than 90 percent of its cigarettes locally.

It said that domestic cigarette production had reached 45 billion in the most recent Iranian year (March 2016-March 2017), close to 15 billion more than the production of the year before.

According to the August story, Ramzi had said plans were underway to increase the local production of cigarettes to 50 billion this year.


Category: Breaking News

Comments are closed.