EghtesadOnline: Iran exported 556,000 tons of dried fruits and nuts worth $1.12 billion in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19). The volume of exports saw a 7% rise, but the value experienced a 31% decline compared to the year before, Fars News Agency reported. Major dried fruit exports, namely pistachio, dates and raisins, accounted for 469,000 tons of the total volume and $949 million of the aggregate value, according to Financial Tribune.
Exports of in-shell and unshelled pistachios during the period stood at 51,000 tons worth $460 million to register a 61% decline both in volume and value year-on-year. The top buyers of Iranian pistachios last year were the UAE with $59 million, India with $59 million and Germany with $50 million. Vietnam with $186 million, Hong Kong with $146 million and Germany with $145 million were the top export destinations in the fiscal 2017-18. Iran produced 55,000 tons of in-shell and unshelled pistachios last year. Pistachios worth $2.68 billion were imported worldwide in 2017. “A total of 320,000 tons of pistachios have been produced in Iran since the beginning of the current Iranian year [March 21, 2019],” said Darab Hassani, an official with the Agriculture Ministry, recently. Kerman Province is the country’s top pistachio-producing province with 100,000 tons of output so far this year, followed by Khorasan Razavi, Yazd, Fars, South Khorasan, Semnan, Markazi, and Qom, he was quoted as saying by ILNA. Iran is the world’s top pistachio exporter, besides the US. Hassani expects exports to exceed 150,000 tons by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19). Iran’s annual domestic demand for pistachio amounts to 35,000-45,000 tons, accounting for 20% of the total output. On average, Iran exports 80% of its total pistachio yields and 80% of that go to only 10 countries. Iran Pistachio Association’s Secretariat has told Financial Tribune that the value of Iran’s domestic pistachio market is estimated to be $500 million per annum while the global pistachio market is worth more than $5.5 billion per annum.
The report noted that Iran exported 305,000 tons of dates worth $337 million in the last fiscal year, indicating a 19% and 34% increase in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year. The top buyers of Iranian dates during the year were India with $72 million, Pakistan with $59 million and Kazakhstan with $29 million. India with $43 million, Pakistan with $33 million and Kazakhstan with $27 million were the top export destinations in the fiscal 2017-18. Iran produced 950,000 tons of dates last year. Worldwide, a total of $1.52 billion worth of dates were imported in 2017. Dates production in Iran reached 1.15 million tons since the beginning of the current Iranian year (started March 21), registering a 20% growth compared with the last year’s corresponding period, Mohsen Rashid Farrokhi, the head of National Association of Iranian Dates, said recently. He added that the increase in rainfall and favorable weather conditions this year are the main reasons behind the production growth, Mehr News Agency reported. The sudden decline in the value of the national currency has been cited as the main reason behind the considerable price hike of date last year (ended March 20, 2019), adding that banning the export of date and the government’s pricing interference last year hampered the export of this product. Date is mainly produced in six Iranian provinces, namely Kerman, Sistan-Baluchestan, Khuzestan, Hormozgan, Bushehr and Fars. This year’s production mainly came from Kerman, Sistan-Baluchestan and Khuzestan, together accounting for 800,000 tons of the total output (70%). With between 1.1 million tons and 1.2 million tons of production over 203,763 hectares of farmland, Iran is the second biggest producer and the fifth biggest exporter of dates in the world. A total of 7.5 million tons of dates are estimated to be produced worldwide every year on 1.1 million hectares of groves. Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Pakistan, Algeria, Iraq, Sudan, Oman and Libya are top 10 producers of dates in the world. Egypt has the biggest production and Algeria has the biggest area of land under date cultivation. Farrokhi told Financial Tribune in an earlier interview that Iran is the biggest exporter of the crop in the world, adding that Egypt ranks second while Saudi Arabia and Tunisia share the third spot on the export front. Average per capital date consumption is estimated at 1 kilogram per year. In Iran, it stands at 7-10 kilograms. According to Siamak Shahriari, a senior member of Dried Fruits and Nuts Exporters Association, 70-80% of dates produced in Iran are consumed domestically and 20-30% are exported. There are a dozen types of dates produced in Iran.
The report also shows exports of raisins totaled 113,000 tons worth $152 million last year to post a 17% and 0.5% decline in tonnage and value respectively YOY. The UAE with $27 million, Iraq with $24 million and Turkey with $22 million were the top export destinations for Iranian raisins during the year. Iraq with $26 million, the UAE with $23 million and Russia with $14 million were the top export destinations in the fiscal 2017-18. Iran produced 200,000 tons of raisins last year. A total of $1.5 billion worth of raisins were imported worldwide in 2017. Domestic raisins consumption amounts to 40,000 tons per year. “Iran is the world’s third biggest producer of raisins after the US and Turkey and the eighth biggest producer of grapes,” Abbas Banazadeh, an agriculture expert, has been quoted as saying.