EghtesadOnline: More than 253,000 tons of different kinds of dates worth close to $250.5 million were exported in the last Iranian year (March 2017-18), data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration showed.
The exported Iranian dates headed to 86 countries, Mehr News Agency reported.
According to Mohsen Rashid Farrokhi, the chairman of the National Association of Iranian Dates, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the world's biggest producers of date with around 1.4 million tons, 1.2 million tons and 1.1 million tons per year respectively.
"Yet, Iran is the biggest exporter of the crop," Farrokhi told Financial Tribune in an earlier interview, adding that Egypt ranks second, with Saudi Arabia and Tunisia sharing the third spot.
Stating that 15% of the dates produced in Iran are used in the processing industry, Farrokhi said plans are underway to increase the share to 30%.
Farrokhi noted that the government has a five-year plan to increase the share of exports from local production to 30%.
"For this, we have started working on India and China as our new markets and already gained some success," he said.
Per capita date consumption in Iran is 3 kilograms.
Director General of Agricultural Ministry’s Tropical and Subtropical Fruits Department Abolqasem Hassanpour also told us that 230 hectares of date plantations in Iran produce more than 12 types of the product.
"In each hectare, 1 direct and 0.5 indirect jobs are created and date cultivation [in Iran] has created about 350,000 jobs," he said.
According to Hassanpour, Sistan-Baluchestan, Hormozgan, Kerman, Fars, Bushehr, Khuzestan, Ilam, Kermanshah, Yazd, South Khorasan and Isfahan top the list of Iranian provinces that cultivate dates.
Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht recently said around 170 billion rials ($4 million) have been earmarked in the current fiscal budget to revive palm trees in the city of Shadedan in the southern Khuzestan Province.