EghtesadOnline: A total of 6.3 million tons of tomatoes have been produced in Iran since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 20), according to the CEO of the Central Organization for Rural Cooperatives of Iran.
“Some 600,000 tons of the total sum were cultivated in greenhouses across the country. These are of high quality and well received in our domestic and foreign markets,” Ali Tahmasebi was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official added that in order to regulate prices in the local market, the government will buy tomatoes from farmers at reasonable prices, if the private sector and food processing factories refuse to offer fair rates.
A kilogram of tomatoes was sold at an average price of 37,310 rials (14 cents) during the fifth month of the current Iranian year (July 22-Aug. 21), registering a 5.1% drop compared with the preceding month, the Statistical Center of Iran reported.
Latest data show Iran exported 209,337 tons of tomatoes worth about $98 million during the two months to May 20.
According to Sspokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration Rouhollah Latifi, Iranian tomatoes were exported to 11 countries during the period, adding that Iraq was the top destination with 125,974 tons worth $57.37 million.
Iraq was followed by Afghanistan with 56,695 tons worth $26.12 million and the UAE with 16,540 tons worth $8.09 million.
Russia was next with $3.57 million, followed by Qatar with $2.04 million and Oman with $338,312, ILNA reported.
Latifi noted that regular customers of Iranian tomatoes, including Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Bulgaria, Syria and Kyrgyzstan, did not import tomatoes from Iran during the period under review due to border restrictions.
According to Director General of Agriculture Ministry’s Greenhouse, Medicinal Plants and Edible Mushroom Affairs Bureau Gholamreza Taqavi, Iran is the world’s seventh biggest tomato producer.
Global statistics show China, the US, India, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, Iran, Spain, Mexico and Russia are the world’s biggest tomato producers while Spain, Italy and Greece are major exporters of processed tomatoes.
Greenhouse tomatoes have a 6% share in Iran's overall tomato production.
Plans are to expand greenhouse cultivation in Iran, as greenhouse tomato production is targeted to reach 682,000 tons by 2022.
Yazd Province is Iran’s top tomato producer with 76,000 tons, followed by the provinces of Bushehr with 51,000 tons, Hormozgan with 48,000 tons, Isfahan with 31,000 tons, East Azarbaijan with 20,000 tons, Markazi with 15,000 tons, Khuzestan with 12,000 tons, Kerman with 9,700 tons, Hamedan with 9,600 tons and Khorasan Razavi with 9,000 tons per year.