EghtesadOnline: Around 1.2 million tons of different kinds of dates were produced in Iran in the last Iranian year (March 2017-18), more than 181,000 tons of which were exported, Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture reported, citing data released by the Statistical Center of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
Pakistan, India and Kazakhstan with 44,000 tons, 39,000 tons and 28,000 tons of purchases respectively were Iran’s top three export destinations.
Dates were cultivated on over 170,000 hectares of palm-groves in the country last year with the provinces of Kerman and Sistan-Baluchestan both in the southeast and Khuzestan in the south being the biggest producers.
According to the chairman of National Association of Iranian Dates, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the world’s biggest producers of dates with 1.4 million tons, 1.2 million tons and 1.1 million tons per year respectively, Financial Tribune reported.
“Yet, Iran is the biggest exporter of the crop,” Mohsen Rashid Farrokhi also told Financial tribune in an interview last year, adding that Egypt ranks second, with Saudi Arabia and Tunisia sharing the third spot.
The official noted that the value of Iran’s date exports stands at around $300 million per year.
Farrokhi believes dates and byproducts present enormous potential for growth and if Iran plans to have a more active presence in world markets, it should consider date processing.
“The importance of investment in date processing industry should not be overlooked. Dates are a high-revenue crop, such that even the powdered seeds of this fruit have recently found their way into the food industry,” he said.
According to Farrokhi, the government has a five-year plan to increase the share of exports from local production to 30%.
Per capita date consumption in Iran is 3 kilograms.