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Pistachios: climate change costs Iran dearly

September 5, 2023 at 9:27 AM , Der AUDITOR
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TEHRAN/BRUSSELS. While the EU has cut back on importing pistachios, Iran will have to invest in measures to tackle the impact of climate change. Illegal wells are also not helping.

Italy buys large volumes in Argentina

EU imports have declined by 17% in terms of volume and by 23% in terms of value this year so far. While the EU imported 47,087 mt of pistachios worth EUR 336.457 million between 01 January and 30 August 2023, the figures ranged at 56,793 mt worth EUR 436.352 million for 01 January to 30 August 2022. The United States are the most important supplier by far and account for 95% of all EU imports. Shipments from Iran have declined sharply by 63%, whereas imports from Argentina have risen more than eightfold.

Italy, however, is the only EU member state that has actively purchased pistachios in Argentina this year. Germany (12.269 million kg) is the leading importing state within the EU, followed by Spain (7.816 million kg) and Belgium (7.249 million kg). Italy (5.811 million kg) and the Netherlands (4.027 million kg) are next in line.

EU pistachio imports (in kg)

Country

2022

2023

Diff.

USA

51,513,905

44,868,571

-13.0%

Iran

4,913,802

1,796,381

-63.5%

Argentina

30,002

250,000

733.3%

Turkey

117,678

110,008

-6.6%

Syria

26,234

5,200

-80.2%

Cameroon

3,203

2,823

-11.9%

Togo

46

1,901

4,032.6%

Vietnam

12

1,404

11,600.0%

Lebanon

2,672

812

-69.7%

India

498

744

49.4%

Others

185,056

49,523

-73.3%

Total

56,793,108

47,087,367

-17.1%

DG AGRI TAXUD Customs Surveillance, 01/01-30/08
HS Code 08025100 – Fresh or dried pistachios, in shell

Illegal wells and water waste in Iran

These imports are symptomatic for global developments as the US and Turkey are gaining market shares - much to the detriment of Iran’s pistachio industry. The INC pegged global production for 2023/2024 at 1.022 million mt in May, 37% up on last year, global supplies are also expected to rise to 1.238 million mt. Consensus is that consumers will profit from a highly competitive market. Prospects in the US are highly encouraging with reports stating that this year’s crop, which is estimated at 590,000 mt, is looking good and healthy.

Production will also bounce back to 200,000 mt in Iran, but climate change is a great challenge. Although weather conditions have been surprisingly good this year after frost and excessive heat caused considerable damage last year, severe drought has changed the landscape in the past ten years and as much as 85% of the country is considered arid or semi-arid. Farmers have responded to the lack of water by digging additional wells. Yet, around half of the 75,000 wells in operation on Iranian farms are illegal and the unconstrained use of underground water for agriculture is the main driver for water waste as local media report. Even officials such as members of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce are sounding the alarm bells over the fact that water shortage and other issues will cost Iran valuable market shares. The country has little option but to invest in and tackle climate change if the industry wants to maintain its position is one of the world’s leading producers. Prices have slipped since June as more supplies are available.

Pistachios, Iran

Inshell, NO

EUR/kg*

USD/kg*

Ahmad Aghaei, 24-26

10.85

11.68

Ahmad Aghaei, 26-28

10.63

11.45

Akbari, 20-22

12.80

13.78

Akbari 22-24

12.37

13.32

Kale Ghuchi, 22-24

11.61

12.50

Kale Ghuchi 24-26

11.39

12.27

Fandoghi, 30-32

9.11

9.81

Fandoghi 32-34

8.90

9.58

FOB Iran

*Please note that these reference prices apply to an order volume of 1 mt. Prices may range lower for higher volumes.

 

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