Qazvin, March 14, IRNA-A senior agriculture sector official said on Sunday that pistachio remains one of the most important national products of Iran and that some 80 percent of the popular nuts are exported the English-language paper, `Iran Daily' wrote on Monday.
Ministry of Agriculture Jihad Director-General for Pistachios Behrouz Gheibi made the remarks at a workshop dubbed `Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point' (HACCP) held at Qazvin's Agriculture Jihad Department, according to the daily.
He noted that the program was launched in 2000 and will cover all pistachio orchards nationwide during the year to March 2007, the morning daily noted.
"Iran controls over 70 percent of the (international) pistachio trade and (Iranian) producers must pay more attention to the quality of the product," he said, adding that there are more than 430,000 hectares of pistachio farms in Iran with half of these farms planted with low quality pistachios.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad, some 85 percent of Iranian pistachios are exported to 76 countries, `Iran Daily' wrote.
It said pistachios are produced in 10 provinces including Kerman, Yazd, Khorasan, Semnan, Qom, Qazvin, Fars, Isfahan, Sistan-Baluchestan and Markazi.
The southern province of Kerman, with 300,000 hectares under cultivation, accounts for 61 percent of the country's total production, according to the morning daily.
Some 1,100 kilograms of pistachios are produced for every hectare cultivated in Iran.
The above-mentioned production figure is expected to reach two tons per hectare once ongoing modernization projects are completed.
The paper further said that Iran is the world's top producer of pistachios with 130,000-200,000 tons harvested per annum.
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