EghtesadOnline: A total of 375,407 tons of banana worth $255.31 million were imported into Iran in the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2021).
Turkey with $129.8 million, India with $54.3 million, Ecuador with $34 million, the Philippines with $33.8 million, Pakistan with $2.7 million, the UAE with $434,000, Russia with $48,000 and Vietnam with $35,000 were the main exporters of banana to Iran in the last fiscal year, according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
Banana imports stood at 136,133 tons worth $92.88 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (March 21-June 21), Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
As per the decision of Market Regulation Headquarters, the import of bananas is conditioned on the export of apples, and traders could obtain a license to register import order for 1 kg of bananas for the export of every 3 kg of apples.
Apple exports stood at 884,798 tons worth $326.67 million in the fiscal 2020-21.
Iraq with $105 million, Russia with $95.4 million, Afghanistan with $51.7 million, India with $26.6 and the UAE with $21.1 million were the main destinations of Iranian apples in the last fiscal year.
Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Oman, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Armenia, Kuwait, Georgia, Syria, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Libya, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Norway and the United Kingdom were other buyers of Iranian apples during the period.
Apple exports in Q1 of the current fiscal year stood at 207,257 tons worth $62.59 million.
West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Fars, Tehran, Isfahan, Khorasan Razavi and Ardabil are Iran’s main apple producing provinces.
Latest data show a total of 92,947 tons of bananas were produced on 4,838 hectares in the fiscal 2020-21, which was sufficient to meet 20% of domestic demand for this tropical fruit, according to Mohammad Mehdi Boroumandi, an official with the Agriculture Ministry, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Domestic demand for bananas stands at 550,000 tons annually, of which 450,000 tons are supplied through imports and 100,000 tons via local production.”
According to IRICA’s data, banana imports in the fiscal 2020-21 hovered around 457,225 tons worth $308 million. The provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Hormozgan, southern Kerman, Fars and Bushehr are the main producers of banana in Iran. Notably, the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan accounts for 99.8% of the country’s banana output.
“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 the cultivation of bananas,” Zahra Jalili-Moqaddam, director general of the Agriculture Ministry’s Tropical and Subtropical Fruits Affairs Bureau, told IRNA.
“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. Chabahar, Konarak and Sarbaz counties account for the lion’s share of the province’s banana yield,” she was quoted as saying by IRNA.
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 in cooperation with the private sector.
“Modern technology will be used in the new plantations to increase yield and quality.”
Sistan-Baluchestan’s tropical climate enables the province to produce banana, mango, papaya, guava and coconut, in addition to watermelon, pomegranate, olive and citrus fruits.
Most of these fruits are harvested twice a year.