Economy, Domestic Economy

Meager Share in Int’l Dry Fruit Market

Meager Share in Int’l Dry Fruit MarketMeager Share in Int’l Dry Fruit Market

Iran is one of the leading producers and exporters of dried fruits and nuts. According to data from the agricultural ministry, the country exported 180,262 metric tons of pistachio, 113,378 tons of raisin and 2,729 tons of almond during the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 20), Mehr news agency reported. Iran also exported about 120,000 tons of different varieties of dates during the same period. This is while according to experts, Iran’s share in the global dried fruit market is still far below capacity.

A report in the Persian newspaper Forsat-e Emruz investigates the current conditions of the dried fruit and nuts market.

  Suitable Climate

Noting that Iran’s diverse climate provides a suitable condition for cultivation and production of nuts and dry fruits, business expert Reza Mohebbi believes development in this area requires expert planning and support from both private and government sectors to increase production.

Pointing to the water scarcity in the country, he suggested expanding the cultivation of agricultural products such as pistachio, walnut, and dates which are suitable for Iran’s climatic conditions to replace the high water-consuming crops which have a lower profitability margin, such as watermelon.  

  Need for Processing, Packaging

The expert also noted that years of mismanagement and lack of prudent planning by authorities has led to export monopolies and negligence towards such important parameters as processing, packaging, and branding by exporters who often resort to bulk export for quick profit.

The majority of Iranian nuts and dried fruits are exported in bulk wholesale to foreign buyers who then re-export it after processing and packaging under their own brand names. Therefore, the expert points out that the Iranian producers are deprived of huge profits which they could potentially gain through improving the packaging quality.

Head of Iran’s Dried Fruit Exporters Association, Mohammad-Hasssan Shamsfard also noted that export of some dried fruit varieties such as apricots, almond and walnut have experienced sharp decline in recent years due to the lower quality and packaging, which hurt competitiveness in the global markets.

According to this expert, Iranian traders have mainly concentrated on export of pistachio, raisin and dates; whereas some products such as almond and walnut for which Iran was once regarded as a major exporter, are currently being imported from China.

He believes huge investments are required in the packaging industry to enable the Iranian dried fruit brands appeal to foreign buyers and compete in global markets.