TEHRAN, IRAN — Iran has become self-sufficient in wheat and no longer needs to import the commodity, Esmaeil Esfandiari, wheat project commissioner in Iran’s Ministry of Agriculture, told the 2nd Crop Technical Monitoring Cultivation Meeting on Oct. 22.

“Over $2.6 billion worth of wheat was imported into the country in 2011, the rate of which has been minimized into zero level since then,” Esfandiari said.

He said self sufficiency has been aided by improved technology and seed improvements over the past five years.

Esfandiari said more than 5.8 million hectares of farmland will be used for cultivating wheat this year. Of that total, approximately 3.8 million hectares will be rain-fed and 2 million will be irrigated, he said.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, wheat and barley are the main crops cultivated in Iran. Wheat is the dominant cereal crop accounting for almost 70% of the aggregate cereal production, according to the FAO. The agency said irrigated wheat covers one‑third of the total wheat area, with the bulk of the wheat crop dependent on rainfall. Most of the rainfed wheat crop is concentrated in the west and northwestern regions of the country. Small amounts of rice and maize are also produced in the country.