0741 GMT November 20, 2018
Iran exported pistachios worth $1 billion in the year to March 2018, said the secretary of Pistachio Association of Semnan Province.
Mansour Abbasian told Iran Daily that Iranian pistachio fetched between $10 and $12 per kilogram in global markets.
Iran exports 75 percent of its pistachio harvest to China, India, central Asian countries and Europe while the rest is consumed in the country, he pointed out.
Iran's pistachio production exceeded 200,000 tons in the above-mentioned year, Abbasian added.
He cited Kerman, Khorasan, Qazvin and Semnan as the top pistachio producing provinces.
Pointing to stiff competition between Iran and the US in the global pistachio market, the secretary of Pistachio Association of Semnan Province said that US pistachio production was double the amount produced by Iran last year.
The official said Iran's pistachio production declined this year due to spring frost.
Pistachio cultivation in Iran goes back to thousands of years whereas pistachio farming in the US began in the 1930s with Persian seeds.
The two countries dominate the world's trade in pistachios. They have been jointly controlled up to 80 percent of annual pistachio output for the last decade.
Iran's pistachio growers have faced additional pressures from US sanctions, tariffs and restrictions on their ability to access international financial mechanisms over the past four decades. This has helped the US market expand, with farmers — mainly across California — planting the crop.
The US imposes over 240 percent tariff on Iranian pistachios. This means that even without sanctions, the US market has been all but cut off for Iran.