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05/29/15

Iran's pistachio under threat from US

Source: Press TV

Water shortage threatens Iran’s pistachio crop, leaving the US to reassert itself as the biggest producer of the staple, head of the Iranian Pistachio Association Mohsen Jalalpour said on Friday.

Iran, however, maintains the top position as the biggest pistachio exporter, he told the Mehr news agency.

“Although Iran is placed second in producing pistachio in the world, it exports about 80% of its crop. This is while about 60% of pistachio harvested in America is used domestically and only 40% of it is exported,” he said.

Jalalpour said Iran had no problem for the sale of its produce, saying “not a single kilo of our pistachio is without customers and our main issue is production”.

“The Iranian pistachio is very much better than the American pistachio in quality and flavor and we have no problem for exports of our crop.”

He said US’s position as the biggest producer is set to remain intact in the coming years because the country harvests more pistachio every year and allots more land to its cultivation.

Jalalpour said he was confident the United States would achieve the target of more than 500,000 tonnes of annual production by 2020.

“The yield from each hectare of land in Iran is less than 700 kilograms but this figure in America is 3,200 kg,” he said.

Iran’s production declines every year because of water shortage.

According to Jalalpour, Iran produced 210,000-220,000 tonnes of pistachio last year. The yield, he said, is expected to decline about 20,000 tonnes this year.

“Water shortage has caused Iran’s pistachio production to shrink year by year or remain at previous levels.”

His remarks clashed with those by an official with the agriculture ministry in April who said Iran ousted the US as the leading producer of pistachio nuts.

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