EghtesadOnline: India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), an organization under the federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will dispatch the first-ever shipment of bananas from Uttar Pradesh (a state in northern India) to Iran by sea.
The shipment will be sent through Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Navi Mumbai today, Times of India reported on Thursday.
Officials of APEDA’s Uttar Pradesh regional office said the shipment will be sent from the Mango Pack House at Malihabad in the Lucknow district.
“It will be the first time that the international market will taste the bananas from UP. The fruit will be procured directly from farmers of Palia Kalan, Lakhimpur, and will be brought to the packhouse. Two containers of 40 feet will be sent to the Iranian market on a trial basis,” an APEDA official commented.
Fiscal 2020-21 Imports at $255m
A total of 375,407 tons of banana worth $255.31 million were imported into Iran in the fiscal 2020-21 (ended March 20).
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, 2021), Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
Latest data show a total of 92,947 tons of bananas were produced on 4,838 hectares of land in the fiscal 2019-20, which was enough to meet 20% of domestic demand for this tropical fruit, according to Mohammad-Mehdi Boroumandi, an official with the Agriculture Ministry.
“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,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“According to data by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, fiscal 2019-20 banana imports hovered around 457,225 tons worth $308 million. The provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Hormozgan, southern Kerman, Fars and Bushehr produce banana in Iran. Notably, the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan accounts for 99.8% of the country’s banana output,” he said.
“Sistan-Baluchestan Province has the largest area under banana cultivation with 4,835 hectares. A total of 22.3 hectares of plantations in Kerman, 12 hectares in Fars, 10 hectares in Hormozgan and 2.3 hectares in Bushehr have been dedicated to cultivation of bananas,” Zahra Jalili-Moqaddam, director general of the Agriculture Ministry’s Tropical and Subtropical Fruits 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,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Chabahar, Konarak and Sarbaz counties account for the lion’s share of the province’s banana yield.”
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,” he added.
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. Harvest takes place twice a year for most of these fruits.
Conditional on Apple Exports
As per the decision of the Market Regulation Headquarters, the import of bananas is conditional on the export of apples and traders could obtain a license to register an 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.