EghtesadOnline: Atotal of 145,924 tons of pastry, chocolate, bread and biscuit worth $153 million were exported from Iran to 56 countries during the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 20-July 21), according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“Exports of bread, biscuit and cereal products stood at 106,336 tons worth $94.88 million. Iraq with $50.38 million, Afghanistan with $29.96 million and Pakistan with $6.3 million were the main export destinations for these products,” Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official said pastry and chocolate exports stood at 39,588 tons worth $58 million with the main customers being Iraq with close to $24.73 million, Afghanistan with $22.17 million and Pakistan with $7.5 million.
Other export destinations included Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Austria, Canada, Malaysia, Japan, Poland, Djibouti, Armenia, Russia, Kuwait, Ivory Coast, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland, China, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen, the UAE, Belarus, Niger and Oman.
According to Jamshid Maghazei, the head of Iran's Association of Confectionery, Chocolate and Biscuit Industries, a total of $450 million worth of chocolate and pastry were exported from Iran in the last fiscal year (March 2019-20).
The spread of the new coronavirus, he says, has dealt a blow to exporters as well as domestic suppliers in the sector.
Secretary of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran's Pastry, Chocolate and Cereal Products Desk Gholamreza SabzaAli has told the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad that pastry and chocolate account for 30-40% of Iran’s total food exports.
Some 70% of the machinery used in Iran's chocolate and pasty industry are supplied domestically.
According to Kaveh Zargaran, an official of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Iran's exports of chocolate and pastry in the fiscal 2018-19 stood at $800 million.
Iran produced 1.7 million tons of pastry and chocolates that year.
“Domestic demand has experienced a 20-30% decline since the virus outbreak began around two months ago. This is because people’s purchasing power has declined and chocolate is not prioritized in the household’s expenditure basket,” he was quoted as saying by the Young Journalists Club.
According to the official, Iran produces 1.7 million tons of pastry and chocolate every year, while the nameplate capacity stands at 2.4 million tons per year.
Per capita consumption of pastry and chocolate in Iran (prior to the coronavirus outbreak) is 21 kilograms per annum.
The city of Tabriz in West Azarbaijan Province is Iran’s chocolate and biscuit production hub and arguably that of the entire Middle East. About half of Iran’s biscuits and chocolates is produced in this northeastern city.
According to Fereydoun Doroudi, a board member of Iranian Confectionery Industries Union, all the investments in this industry have been made by the private sector.
Latest available data show a total of 754 tons of chocolate worth close to $2.97 million were imported into Iran from 10 countries in the fiscal 2018-19.
Data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show Germany was the biggest exporter with 193 tons worth more than $987,000. Other major exporters of chocolate to Iran during the period under review were Spain, Italy, the UAE, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, India and Turkmenistan, Mizan Online reported.