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Pistachios: climate change impact

October 5, 2021 9:34 AM, Der AUDITOR
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BIRJAND. Drought has impacted pistachio production in Iran’s South Khorasan Province for more than twenty years. Variations in temperature, reduced rainfall and humidity cause a lot of damage every year. Growers use wells and aqueducts to compensate for less rain. This year production is, however, not only expected to decline but growers are also confronted with additional challenges.

Drought changes production in South Khorasan

South Khorasan ranks fifth in terms of pistachio production Iran and large volumes are exported from here. While dried pistachio production ranged at 15,500 mt in South Khorasan last year, only around 14,500 mt will be harvested this year. Problem were the storms in August, which caused enormous damage mainly in Boshruyeh, Ferdows and Nahbandan counties. The extent is considerable as damages ranging from 5% to 50% have been reported on around 23 hectares. Pistachio cultivation spans 25,120 hectares.

The main varieties cultivated in South Khorasan are Kale Ghuchi, Akbari and Badami, Fandoghi and Ahmad Aghaei pistachios. Advantage is that these varieties ripen early. Climate change is, however, an enormous challenge. Especially since droughts have changed the relative humidity and have enabled pests and diseases to spread more easily in the orchards. Reduced rainfall has, in addition, caused the amount of dust to increase and temperatures to fluctuate, which disrupts production. Drier air also has an adverse impact on pistachios. Effective water management is crucial, and intention is to provide growers with grants to install pressurised irrigation systems.

Growers lose out

Around 9,000 farmers harvest the crop but obtain anything but fair prices. While frost, pests and hail drive up production costs many brokers tend to purchase green and ripe pistachios directly from the growers in cash below market price. Frequently, they also set prices up to three months in advance. In addition to this, fresh pistachios are highly popular, but return only few profits. Domestic and export prices are mainly stable. Ahmad Aghaei pistachios, size 26-28, are, however, the noted exception as they are trading EUR 20/mt higher than in mid-September.  

Pistachios, Iran

Inshell,NO

EUR/kg*

Ahmad Aghaei, 24-26

9.35

Ahmad Aghaei, 26-28

9.03

Akbari, 20-22

9.95

Akbari 22-24

9.55

Kale Ghuchi, 22-24

8.75

Kale Ghuchi 24-26

8.56

Fandoghi, 30-32

8.16

Fandoghi 32-34

7.96

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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