Answers of the Iranian Pistachio Association to a questionnaire supplied by The Clipper magazine
The Clipper: Two problems came up for the agriculture in general and the pistachio industry in particular: the climatic disaster which led to a major failure of the Iranian pistachio crop 2018/19; secondly the stricter US sanctions. How does your country cope with these challenges and which are the day-to-day effects for exporters and traders?
Iran’s 2018 pistachio crop experienced an extreme weather shock during bud-break in Spring, which resulted in an estimated crop (IPA’s post-harvest estimate) of around 52,000 t. The most restrictive factor of pistachio production expansion is water scarcity in the traditional regions in Iran. The US sanctions have not had any direct impact on trading Iranian pistachios, since food commodities were exempt from any international sanctions. However, banking limitations caused an indirect limited barrier to Iranian pistachio exports around the world. This resulted in an increase in the costs of trading for the whole industry.
The Clipper: The flower season should be finished by now – fruit development should commence. Does Mother Nature confirm the statements of Industry representants that “next year” (2019) will be much better?
According to Iran Pistachio Association’s forecast, 2019 will be an on-year for the Iranian pistachio industry. IPA will announce its 2019 Iranian pistachio crop forecast during the upcoming INC congress in Florida.
The Clipper: Given the harsh predictions of the US President Donald Trump as facts of reality, which are the markets for Iranian market left over from US sanctions?
As mentioned earlier; sanctions don’t apply to foods, and until now they have not had any direct impact on pistachio export. But the most important negative effects of sanctions on pistachio industry have been the trading costs and unfair and unequal competition . For example, it’s for a quite long time that the US has subjected the import of Iranian pistachios into the US to unfair antidumping and countervailing duties. In addition, financial and transportation restrictions expose the industry to more risks and compel it to go through unclear channels with higher costs.
Up until recent years, Iran was the biggest producer of pistachios in the world, and pistachios have always been in high demand with the very limited amount of carry-over. Even in recent years that Iran fell into the second rank of pistachio production after the US, due to the sharp increase in demand trends, at the end of each marketing year we may run out of pistachios or happen to have a very little carry-over. We at Iran Pistachio Association make efforts to introduce and promote Iranian pistachios all over the world by taking part in different international exhibitions.
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