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Iran pistachio exports surge despite pandemic closures

Iran’s exports of pistachio have hit five-year highs despite closures at borders over the pandemic.

Iran is exporting high volumes of its premium-quality pistachio despite trade restrictions imposed around the world to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

A top Iranian trader said on Saturday that pistachio shipments from Iran had reached over 35,000 metric tons in the four months ending July 21, an increase of more than 235 percent compared to similar periods over the past five years.

Hossein Rezayi, who is the secretary general of Iran Pistachio Association, said that exports of the nibble had hit a monthly high of over 14,000 tons between June and July.

There were no details available about revenues earned over the four-month period. Pistachio is Iran’s main export commodity outside the oil sector and normally accounts for over $1 billion in revenues each year.

An Iranian customs office (IRICA) spokesman had said in early July that exporters earned more than $154 million for nearly 22,000 tons of pistachio shipments sent to other countries between March 19 and June 20.

China was responsible for a bulk of pistachio purchases from Iran in the three-month period with around a fourth of all shipments. Germany, Iraq, Russia and Kazakhstan were other main buyers, according to IRICA figures published last months.


Trade falls due to pandemic

For the past two years, Iran has increasingly relied on exports of agrifood as a major source of revenues as the government struggles to cope with a series of American sanctions that have affected the country’s sale of crude.  

That comes as restrictions imposed in the Middle East and around the world over the spread of the coronavirus have caused a significant decline in Iran’s trade with other countries.

IRICA figures published on Saturday showed that total exports from Iran between late March and late July had topped $8.713 billion in value terms, down 40 percent compared to the similar period in 2019.

The value of imports into Iran also declined by 24 percent year on year to stand at $10.922 billion in late July, showed the figures.

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