Economy, Domestic Economy

Fruit Market in Turmoil

Fruit Market in TurmoilFruit Market in Turmoil

Fruit imports are illegal, but one may wonder where all the exotic fruits in the market have come from, said the President of the National Union of Exporters of Agricultural Products, in an interview with IRNA.

According to a decree passed by the ministry of agriculture, only tropical fruits like banana, pineapple, mango, and coconut can be imported. However, today all kinds of foreign fruits such as Pakistani tangerines, Egyptian and Turkish oranges, Chilean grapes, Brazilian limes, and African and Turkish pears are sold in many shops at high prices, said Seyed-Reza Nourani.

“Despite the fact that the union is against fruit imports, we believe that under certain circumstances agricultural products can be imported to meet domestic demand,” he said. The official cited a 2014 example when due to frost damage to gardens in the northern Mazandaran Province, a shortage of citrus supplies was expected, yet there was extra supply of apples and kiwis.  

Back then, the union requested the ministry of agriculture to balance orange and lime imports with apple and kiwi exports, according to Nourani, but the ministry rejected the proposal and stated that citrus supplies surpassed domestic needs and therefore could be exported.

“We all know that by the Iranian New Year eve, high priced large oranges, seemingly from abroad, were sold in the market,” said Nourani.

The official believes keeping fruit imports at a low level, in addition to maintaining lower prices, helps the Plant Protection Organization to prevent infected products from making their way into the country.

According to him, after two months since the beginning of the Iranian new year, Egyptian and Turkish oranges are still offered in the market at high price tags of 8 to 10 thousand tomans ($2.4 to 3) per kilo.