EghtesadOnline: A total of 90,000 tons of bananas were produced in Iran on 4,881 hectares in the last Iranian year (March 2019-20), the director general of Agriculture Ministry’s Tropical and Subtropical Fruits Bureau said.
Noting that between 90,000 and 120,000 tons of bananas are produced in Iran annually, Zahra Jalili-Moqaddam added, “Bananas are being grown in five provinces of Iran; the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province accounts for 98% of the country’s banana output and the rest are being produced in Hormozgan, Kerman, Fars and Bushehr.”
“Sistan-Baluchestan Province has the largest area under banana cultivation with 4,835 hectares. A total of 22.3 hectares of plantations in southern Kerman, 12 hectares in Fars, 10 hectares in Hormozgan and 2.3 hectares in Bushehr have been dedicated to banana cultivation,” she was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Ardeshir Shahraki, an Agriculture Ministry official, said more than 60,000 tons of bananas have been harvested in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province so far this year (started March 20).
“There are close to 5,000 hectares of banana plantations in Sistan-Baluchestan, more than 3,000 hectares of which currently bear fruit. The province is Iran’s banana production hub,” he said.
The official noted that it is estimated that a total of 150,000 tons of bananas will be produced in the province this year.
“Chabahar, Konarak and Sarbaz counties account for the lion’s share of the province’s banana yield”, he said.
Mohammad Ali Tahmasebi, deputy agriculture minister for horticultural affairs, told Mehr News Agency that the government plans to expand Sistan-Baluchestan’s banana plantations by 2,000 hectares with the cooperation of private sector.
“Modern technology will be used in the new plantations to increase yield and quality,” he said.
Sistan-Baluchestan’s tropical climate enables the province to produce, besides banana, mango, papaya, guava and coconut, in addition to watermelon, pomegranate, olive and citrus fruits.
Harvest takes place twice a year for most of these fruits.
A total of 173,062 tons of bananas worth more than $113.68 million were imported into Iran during the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 20-July 21).
According to Rouhollah Latifi, the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, the imports were from Ecuador, India, Philippines, Turkey, Russia, Vietnam and the UAE, Mehr News Agency reported.
Jalili-Moqaddam said an average of 450,000 tons of bananas are imported into Iran every year while domestic production of the fruit stands at around 120,000 tons per annum.
According to the official, the capacity for domestic production of bananas as well as other tropical fruits are much more than the current levels.
“The Agriculture Ministry is prepared to grant incentives, banking facilities and subsidies to encourage farmers in producing these fruits,” she said.