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Iran Pistachio exporters boost international pistachio market share

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Iran exported 160,000 tons of pistachio during the last Iranian year (ended March 21), said US Department of Agriculture’s Statistics Office.

It declared that Iran accounted for 50 percent of global pistachio market, Fars News Agency wrote.

Iran is top pistachio exporter this year with exports of 160,000 tons, followed by US (with 150,000 tons), Syria (10,000 tons), EU (1,600 tons) and Turkey (1000 tons).

Iran pistachio

The entire world pistachio exports stand at 322,000 tons, of which 50 percent belongs to Iran.

The country produced 210,000 tons of pistachio this year–indicating a rise of 25,000 tons against the figure for last year.

Iran is usually considered as the largest pistachio producer worldwide. However, this year it ranked second after US.

The US has produced 236,000 tons of pistachio this year. This is while its production stood at 161,000 tons last year.

According to data released by US Agriculture Department, global pistachio output has reached 632,000 tons, of which 33 percent pertains to Iran.

Turkey with 110,000 tons, Syria (65,000 tons) and European Union (10,000 tons) are the other top producers.

Top Importers
EU has been considered as top pistachio importer with importing 80,000 tons of the green nuts.

China (with 55,000 tons) and Hong Kong (50,000 tons) come in second and third places respectively.

American farmers have been the main beneficiaries of a new United States ban on pistachio imports from Iran, which took effect in 2010. The ban, signed by US President Barack Obama on July 1, 2010, unexpectedly benefits American pistachio growers, who have always seen Iranian pistachio as a big rival in the $700-million domestic market, as well as overseas, AP reported.

Richard Matoian, the executive director of the Fresno-based Western Pistachio Association, said the ban was “a big bonus” for the group’s members.

Iran ships only about a million pounds (453,000 kg) of pistachios to the US a year. But industry officials said lack of competition could bolster domestic sales for US farmers.

Still, those Iranian pistachios have to go somewhere, said Matoian, adding that at least 65 percent of the pistachios grown in the US are exported overseas.

The United States and Iran have been long vying for becoming the world’s number 1 pistachio producer.
Reza Fotouhi, director general of the Agriculture Ministry’s Office for Fruit Affairs, said earlier that Iran is ahead of the US as far as the amount of pistachio exports is concerned.

Tehran has more pistachio exports although the Iranian pistachio is more expensive than its US-grown rival, he said.

Fotouhi said the value of Iran’s pistachio exports hits $1 billion during the year to March 2011.

Pistachio nuts are the top non-oil export of the Islamic Republic, earning the country more than $1 billion in hard currency on a yearly basis and providing about 140,000 jobs for the agricultural sector in the southeastern province of Kerman.

Health Properties
Researchers at Tarbiat Modarres University found pistachio green hull extract has antioxidant, antimicrobial and antimutagenicity properties. Ahmad Rajaei, the lead researcher of the project, said these properties of pistachio green hull extracts (crude and purified extracts) were studied, ScienceDirect wrote.

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