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Iran ends seasonal rice import ban - agencies

A woman plants rice seedlings on a field near Mahmoudabad, 240 km (149 miles) northeast of Tehran, May 6, 2008. Picture taken May 6, 2008. REUTERS/Caren Firouz/Files

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has ended its seasonal ban on rice imports, allowing importers to register their orders, Iranian news agencies reported on Sunday.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Akbar Mehrfard announced the end of the annual ban in a letter dated Nov. 28, the ISNA semi-official news agency reported. Other agencies carried similar reports.

The government usually imposes the ban for a few months each year to support local prices and help Iranian growers during the harvest season.

Iran consumes 3 million tonnes of rice a year. About one million tonnes is imported, mainly from India and Pakistan.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by David Goodman