Economy, Business And Markets

Fruit Juice More Profitable Than Oil

Fruit Juice More Profitable Than OilFruit Juice More Profitable Than Oil

Most fruit juice and liquid concentrate factories in Iran were set up in the past three decades, making them one of the most advanced domestic production sectors with the highest international standards, says the head of Iran’s Fruit and Juice Concentrate Producers’ Union.

“Over 90% of the materials and equipment needed by the industry are made domestically. We don’t need to import any product, except for tropical fruits and concentrates,” Valiollah Davoudabadi added.

“When it comes to modern, multi-layered packaging, the entirety of the materials needed are imported from Switzerland, France and Italy until recently, but now notable local companies are capable of meeting the needs of this industry and even export packaging machinery to the regional countries,” the Persian daily Forsat-e Emrooz quoted him as saying.  

Davoudabadi said the nominal capacity of fruit juice production units in Iran is around 130,000 to 140,000 tons but total production stands at 60,000 tons.

“We need to work out a solution to further improve this industry. Today less than half of the factories’ capacity has been allocated to production. It is our hope to see production reach 100,000 tons in the current Iranian year (to end March 19, 2016) following the complete removal of sanctions and implementation of effective policies in the agriculture sector,” he said.

The official believes that concentrated fruit juice would earn more export revenues than oil exports, in view of the high added value of fruit juice production and low oil prices.

“At times, the price of a barrel of sour cherry concentrate was equal to 23 barrels of crude oil,” he said.

Asked about the current state of concentrate production, Davoudabadi said lack of proper management in supplying raw materials, such as fruits, caused problems.

“As recently as three years ago, Turkish trucks were lining up behind Iranian factories to carry apple and grape concentrates to their country. Even Japan use to send charter jets for the shipment of Iranian pomegranate concentrates, but unfortunately mismanagement and anti-Iran sanctions scuttled the exports of fruit beverages,” he said.

He also blamed incompatibility between the country’s industrial agriculture and too many factories in this field for the slowdown in fruit juice exports.

“The second half of the 1980s saw numerous permits issued for the establishment of fruit juice factories. This came as the country’s fruit production was not enough to meet the need for the raw material of these factories,” he said.

“Take orange, for example. Iran is one of the prominent producers of oranges in the region. Domestic orange juice factories produce 20,000 tons annually. As little as 5,000 tons of the figure are supplied locally and the rest is imported.”