EghtesadOnline: As per the new directive of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, date exporters need to pay duty for their shipments.
The duties, depending on the type of dates, are either in the form of payments ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 rials (36-58 cents) per kilogram of their shipments, or 30% of the rial value of the product, IRNA reported.
The move to impose customs duty on dates is aimed at ensuring supply in the domestic market remains sufficient. However, this will adversely impact Iran’s export volume.
Per capita date consumption in Iran is 3 kilograms (per year), according to Financial Tribune.
Prices rise with demand during the holy month of Ramadan since date is a typical staple to break fasting by Muslims.
This year, in particular, besides higher demand during Ramadan, prices have skyrocketed in line with runaway inflation in Iran.
According to Eskandar Zand, an advisor to the Agriculture Minister, date production in Iran has increased by 18% during the last 10 years while the average increase at the global scale over the same period stood at 10%.
“Land under date cultivation in the world has increased by 10% during the last decade while Iran’s palm groves have expanded by 5% during the same period,” Zand said.
Mohsen Rashid Farrokhi, chairman of the National Association of Iranian Dates, earlier told Financial Tribune that Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the world's biggest producers of dates with an average annual production of 1.4 million tons, 1.2 million tons and 1.1 million tons respectively.
"Yet, Iran is the biggest exporter of the crop in the world," Farrokhi said, noting that Egypt ranks second with Saudi Arabia and Tunisia sharing the third spot in the export front.
Ebrahim Pourheydari, the deputy head of the National Association of Iranian Dates, says Russia, India, Canada, East Asia and some European countries are among the main destinations of Iran's date exports.
Abolqasem Hassanpour, the former director general of Agricultural Ministry’s Tropical and Subtropical Fruits Department, also told Financial Tribune in a separate interview that 230 hectares of date plantations in Iran produce more than 12 types of the product.
In each hectare, one direct and 0.5 indirect jobs are created, he said, adding that date cultivation has created about 350,000 jobs in Iran.
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.