Iran's rice import sharply rose in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year which started on March 21, local media reported Saturday.
Iran imported 1.1 million tons of rice worth 1.289 billion U.S. dollars in six months, up 75 percent in weight and 117 percent in value compared to the corresponding period in the last year, Tehran Times daily reported.
India, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey are the main rice exporters to Iran.
Mehdi Kaboli, an official with the country's Agricultural Jihad Ministry, said earlier that annual rice consumption in Iran stands at around 2.8 million tons and the country plans to produce more than 2.4 million tons of rice in the current Iranian calendar year.
The country's rice import far surpasses his prediction as he said that "we only need to import less than 500,000 tons of rice this year."