Iran’s pistachio exports to top 136,000 tons

In the year to March 2017, Iran is expected to export over 136,000 tons of pistachios according to a member of Iran’s Pistachio Association (IPA). “The IPA estimated in its June meeting that annual pistachio production will reach 170,000 tons, of which about 80 percent will be exported,” Farhad Agah told Iran Daily.

 China is the main importer of Iranian pistachios while the other buyers of the nut include the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the EU, India and some Arab states.
According to official figures, more than 200,000 tons of pistachios were harvested last year. This shows a decline in the production of the nut in the current year.
Listing some of the reasons for the drop in pistachio production, Agah pointed out, “Pistachio trees have ‘fertile’ and ‘infertile’ years. This means that they yield more products in one year and less in the next. This year is among ‘infertile years’.”
He also said that adverse weather conditions have impacted pistachio output.
The IPA official further said ‘lygaeus pandurus’ – a species of ‘seed bugs’ – has impeded pistachio production.
Iran is a top pistachio producer and exporter. However, drought and unconstrained farming have taken a devastating toll on the industry.
In 2013, Iran’s Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey showing that Kerman Province was losing about 20,000 hectares of pistachio farms every year to desertification.
Traditionally, Iran has a strong clout in the pistachio market but has to compete with the US to become the biggest grower. Nonetheless, sales of Iranian pistachios to the US and Europe have been hindered by sanctions. The lifting of sanctions followed by last year’s nuclear deal between Tehran and the major world powers has raised hope that the Persian Gulf country will be able to dominate global markets.
This will be possible through comprehensive planning to boost pistachio production and overcoming political obstacles such as those pertaining to sanctions.