Iran wins ‘pistachio war’ with US

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Iran
Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Iran ousted the US as the leading producer of pistachio nuts last year and reclaimed the position which it has long held to its credit, an Iranian official told international media. 

Production of the nut surpassed 235,000 tonnes thanks to satisfactory precipitations and Iran’s implementation of development measures for better yield, an official with the agriculture ministry, Ali Mohseni said.

Iran outpaced the United States as the top producer after unofficial figures of 240,000 tons of pistachio crop in the US for 2014 were brushed aside by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mohseni said.

“Such figures, far from being realistic, are disseminated by profiteers who seek to buy at knockdown prices from pistachio producers and pave the way for imports,” he said.

Iran is the top pistachio exporter, a position the country has omnipresently maintained, thanks to the premium quality of its produce.

Mohseni said Iran exported 180,262 tonnes of the nut worth $1.62 billion last year. Those exports marked a 50% rise both in terms of volume and value, the official added.

Iran also has the largest acreage of land dedicated to pistachio plantation, spread over more than 20 provinces in the country.

Mohseni says the country plans to propagate pistachio culture to more provinces, including those in the west, northwest and northeast.

In an ongoing “pistachio war, Iran faces a fierce competition from the United States which plans to quadruple production by 2020.

Up to 70% of Iran’s pistachio crop comes from Kerman Province, which has an ideal climate and soil for growing the nutty fruit. The province, however, is grappling with years of drought which has affected farming.

Iran is famous for its high quality fruits, described as second to none, including grapes, pomegranates, quinces, tangerines and oranges.

Mohseni said the country exported 1.8 million tonnes of fresh fruits, worth $2.7 billion, in 2014. Total fruit production stood around 15 million tonnes in the period.

Iran’s exports of dried fruit, meanwhile, exceeded 759,000 tonnes which brought the country $2.1 billion in hard currency.

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