Germany was the main destination of Iran’s pistachio, as it imported 3,063 tons of pistachio worth $40 million from Iran, in the first five months of the current fiscal year (started March 21). Over 61% of Iran’s exported pistachios were dispatched to Germany, Iraq, Kazakhstan, the UAE, India, Spain and Russia, Trend News Agency reported. However, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration’s official statistics indicate that Iranian pistachio exports’ value decreased by 40% to earn $198 million and the volume of exports also decreased by 45% to reach 19,000 tons during the five months, compared with the same period of last year.
Iran exported pistachio to 59 countries, including Yugoslavia, Jordan, Armenia, Argentina, Uzbekistan, Australia, Slovakia, South Africa, Afghanistan, Albania, United Kingdom, Ukraine, US, Italy, Bahrain, Brazil, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Libya, South Korea, Moldova, China, Romania, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Oman, France, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Canada, Kuwait, Lebanon, Poland, Lithuania, Malaysia, Egypt, Vietnam, Netherlands and Hong Kong. ISNA quoted Mahmoud Abtahi, chairman of the board of directors at the Iranian Pistachio Association, as saying that the amount of pistachio production in Iran in the last fiscal year halved to 180,000 tons, which is the main reason behind the decline in export this year.
Head of Iran Pistachio Association, Mohsen Jalalpour, said every year between 8,000 and 12,000 hectares of Iran’s pistachio orchards are lost because of water shortage and soil salinity.“Land under pistachio cultivation in Iran is currently close to 350,000 hectares while during the 2000s, the figure stood at more than 400,000 hectares,” he was quoted as saying by Eranico. Kerman Province in southeast Iran is the country’s biggest producer of pistachio. The province once accounted for 70% of Iran’s pistachio production, but now produces only 30% of all the pistachio grown in the country due to the severe water crisis.
“Pistachio is currently cultivated in 19 provinces across the country, all of which are more or less facing the same issues,” he said.Both Jalalpour and Abtahi estimate this year’s production to stand around 230,000 tons, of which Jalalpour expects some 150,000 tons worth $1.5 billion will be exported to register an 11% and 25% growth in weight and value respectively compared with last year when 135,000 tons worth around $1.2 billion were exported.According to Jalalpour, who is a former chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Iran is the second biggest producer of pistachio after the US and top exporter of the commodity. Deputy Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mojtaba Khosrowtaj said Iran supplies more than 50% of the world pistachio market.