Nuts

Pistachios: farmers switch to green kernels

October 10, 2022 at 11:18 AM, Der AUDITOR
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RAFSANJAN. Pistachios have a long tradition in Rafsanjan county in Iran’s Kerman province, which accounts for 20% of the area under cultivation. Suppliers are assessing the damage caused by frost and floods without stirring panic. The protests erupting throughout the country are, in addition, directly impacting trading.

Not as bad as it seems

Pistachio cultivation spans an area of 400,000 ha in Iran, of which 80,000 ha are located in Rafsanjan. While the trees have produced record yields in the past, things are different this year. Production declined to 4,000 mt and only accounts for a limited proportion of the 12,000 mt produced in Kerman province this year. Low productivity has, in fact, prompted many farmers to harvest unripe green pistachios. The Agricultural Organisation of Rafsanjan county estimates that 500 mt of green kernels will be harvested this year, which is up on the 300 mt harvested last year. Harvesting of unripe pistachios started in August and the nuts harvested in the first few days are of better quality.

Although frost and floods have caused extensive damages, suppliers are far from alarmed. Last year’s severe frosts still had a lasting impact on this year’s production. Issue is that the farmers have less income at their disposal to look after the trees. Analysts reckon that frostbite caused a damage of USD 900 million in Rafsanjan. Next year’s crop will also be affected with estimates stating that damages may exceed USD 500 million. Suppliers, however, emphasise that frost is a natural event and that the orchards will recover. They do, however, concede that some orchards will produce no pistachios next year and that some varieties, such as Khale Ghuchi, will still be impaired.

The floods witnessed in summer also have a much smaller impact than the frost. According to the Iran Pistachio Association up to 20% of the orchards were flooded in Rafsanjan this year. Trouble is that around 10,000 ha are still covered in mud as farmers are still waiting for assistance. General consensus, however, is that production will recover again in Kerman province next year. Suppliers report that Iran’s total production is similar in size to last year. Political-economic factors are, however, shaping the market at present.

Protests disrupt trading

Issue is the government’s violent response to the anti-hijab protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini on 16 September, which is disrupting economic activities and foreign trade. Last week, the Iranian rial crashed to its lowest point since June and the prices for Iranian pistachios have declined sharply.

Pistachios, Iran

Inshell, NO

EUR/kg*

USD/kg*

Ahmad Aghaei, 24-26

11.99

10.67

Ahmad Aghaei, 26-28

11.54

11.24

Akbari, 20-22

13.34

12.99

Akbari 22-24

12.80

12.46

Kale Ghuchi, 22-24

12.44

12.11

Kale Ghuchi 24-26

11.90

11.59

Fandoghi, 30-32

9.91

9.65

Fandoghi 32-34

9.55

9.30

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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